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A stone alignment, kerbed cairn, prehistoric settlement, four pillow mounds, a vermin trap and animal runs 720m south west of Great Trowlesworthy Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Shaugh Prior, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.4575 / 50°27'27"N

Longitude: -4.0098 / 4°0'35"W

OS Eastings: 257432.568509

OS Northings: 63894.984602

OS Grid: SX574638

Mapcode National: GBR Q3.1MTG

Mapcode Global: FRA 27HV.7P8

Entry Name: A stone alignment, kerbed cairn, prehistoric settlement, four pillow mounds, a vermin trap and animal runs 720m south west of Great Trowlesworthy Tor

Scheduled Date: 28 November 1991

Last Amended: 5 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016147

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24229

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Shaugh Prior

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Details

This monument includes a stone alignment, kerbed cairn, prehistoric settlement
with enclosures and clearance areas, four pillow mounds, a vermin trap and
three animal runs situated on a west facing slope overlooking the valley of
the Blacka Brook.
The stone alignment is orientated from east to west and includes a 79m long
single row of at least 44 stones, with the tallest stones being present at
either end. The tallest stone measures 1.2m high, although the average height
is 0.32m. An encircled cairn lies at the eastern end of the alignment and this
survives as a 5.75m diameter and 0.3m high mound of stones surrounded by at
least 13 upright stones standing between 0.1m and 0.45m high. A hollow in the
mound, measuring 3.1m long by 2m wide and 0.3m deep, suggests partial early
excavation or robbing.
The prehistoric settlement includes at least three stone hut circles, three
enclosures, fragmentary lengths of walling and at least one distinct area of
cleared ground. The stone hut circles survive as circular or oval shaped areas
surrounded by a stone and earth wall and their internal areas vary between 8.4
and 50.24 sq m. Two of the enclosures are oval in shape, the remaining one is
rectangular and each is defined by a rubble bank. The cleared ground survives
as an irregular shaped area measuring 30m by 25m and is defined by natural
undisturbed clitter. Within the cleared area is a cairn which measures 6m long
by 5m wide and stands up to 0.4m high.
This cairn was probably produced during the clearance of the area. Within the
monument there are also a number of lengths of rubble walling which form part
of a fragmentary field system which survives partly as a buried feature. This
monument lies within Trowlesworthy Warren and a number of warrening features
including four pillow mounds, three animal runs and a vermin trap are visible.
Trowlesworthy Warren includes around 64 pillow mounds and 40 vermin traps
scattered along the slopes of Little and Great Trowlesworthy Tors. The
boundaries of the warren are denoted by the River Plym, Spanish Lake and
Blacka Brook. Trowlesworthy Warren is generally accepted as the oldest
surviving warren on Dartmoor, although recently doubt has been expressed
concerning its medieval origins. It is however known that the warren existed
by 1651 when it was occupied by John Hamblin, a skinner from Plymouth. The
warren appears to have remained in constant use from this time until the first
half of the 20th century.
The pillow mounds survive as flat-topped, sub-rectangular mounds of soil
and stones, surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during
their construction. The mounds vary in size between 20.4m and 22m long,
stand between 1m and 1.3m high, and have gulleys leading away from their
lower side. Three of the mounds are linked directly to animal runs which lead
to an`X'-shaped vermin trap situated next to a stream.
Other archaeological features surviving within the vicinity of this monument
are the subjects of separate schedulings.
This monument is in the care of the Secretary of State.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and,
because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most
complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The
great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provide direct evidence
for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards.
The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites,
major land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as
later industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes
in the pattern of land use through time. Stone alignments or stone rows
consist of upright stones set in single file or in avenues of two or more
parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are often
physically linked to burial monuments, such as small cairns, cists and
barrows, and are considered to have had an important ceremonial function. The
Dartmoor alignments mostly date from the Late Neolithic period (c.2400-2000
BC). Some eighty examples, most of them on the outer Moor, provide over half
the recorded national population. Due to their comparative rarity and
longevity as a monument type, all surviving examples are considered nationally
important, unless very badly damaged.

Within the vicinity of this alignment is a dispersed prehistoric settlement
including stone hut circles, enclosures and fields. It is known that stone
alignments were usually built within previously cleared areas and it is
tempting to equate some of these features with this earlier activity.
Stone hut circles and hut settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric
farmers. They mostly date from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on
the Moor in this building tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based
round houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area;
remains of the turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts may occur
singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a
bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their
longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important
information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices
amongst prehistoric communities.
In later years the monument formed part of Trowlesworthy Warren and at
this time pillow mounds, a vermin trap and animal runs were constructed.
Warrens are areas of land set aside for the breeding and management of
rabbits or hares. They usually include a series of purpose-built breeding
places, known as pillow mounds and buries, vermin traps and enclosures
designed to contain and protect the animals, and living quarters for the
warrener who kept charge of the warren.
The prehistoric and historic landscape south west of Great Trowlesworthy Tor
contains a range of monuments which survive well and represent two of the main
periods of upland exploitation. This wealth and diversity of remains gives
significant insights into successive changes in the patten and nature of land
use through time.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory

Source: Historic England

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