Ancient Monuments

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A partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, two cairns containing cists and a post-medieval building 440m NNW of Powder Mills

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5839 / 50°35'1"N

Longitude: -3.945 / 3°56'42"W

OS Eastings: 262399.1252

OS Northings: 77821.5952

OS Grid: SX623778

Mapcode National: GBR Q6.CLFC

Mapcode Global: FRA 27MJ.8XB

Entry Name: A partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, two cairns containing cists and a post-medieval building 440m NNW of Powder Mills

Scheduled Date: 6 August 1973

Last Amended: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016638

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28721

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Widecombe-in-the-Moor St Pancras

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument, which falls into seven areas, includes a partially enclosed
stone hut circle settlement, two cairns containing cists and a post-medieval
building situated on a south east facing slope overlooking the valley of the
Cherry Brook. The settlement survives as a single enclosure containing or
connected to four stone hut circles, with a further eight huts lying to the
south and two more surviving to the east. The stone hut circles within the
settlement survive as circular or oval banks each surrounding an internal area
which varies from 7 to 33 square metres, with the average being 15 square
metres. The height of the surrounding walls varies between 0.2m and 1.2m, with
the average being 0.6m. Seven of the huts have visible doorways, three are
attached to enclosure walling, one has an internal partition and they all are
of orthostatic or rubble bank construction.
Lying on the eastern edge of the settlement are two cairns containing
cists. The northern cairn measures 5.4m in diameter, stands up to 0.6m high
and is surrounded by a kerb which includes one substantial orthostat which may
have once stood upright. In the centre of the mound is a 1.05m long by 0.68m
wide and 0.7m deep stone lined cist orientated NNE to SSW. On the south
eastern edge of the cist is the displaced coverstone which measures 1.95m long
by 1m wide and at least 0.18m thick. The southern cairn survives as a 5.8m
diameter and 0.5m high mound containing a central pit which is defined on its
northern side by a 1.4m long and 0.55m deep slab of stone. This stone
represents one side of a cist which has been damaged by partial excavation or
robbing. A small number of edge set stones around the periphery of the mound
suggests the presence of a kerb which survives largely as a buried feature.
The post-medieval building cuts through the circuit of the prehistoric
enclosure and survives as a single roomed dwelling house with an attached
linhay. The interior of the house measures 6.3m long by 3.5m wide and is
defined by a faced 0.65m wide drystone wall standing up to 1.7m high. A fire
place survives against the north western wall of the house. The linhay is
attached to the south western wall of the house and measures internally 8.3m
long by 2.6m wide, with its open south eastern side being denoted by three
substantial orthostats standing up to 1.8m high. These orthostats would have
originally supported a roof.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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 hut circles and hut settlements
were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. 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. They are
particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, two cairns containing
cists and a post-medieval building 440m NNW of Powder Mills survive well and
together provide evidence relating to the use of the area during the
prehistoric and post-medieval periods. The juxtaposition of the settlement
and cairns will in particular provide information relating to both life, death
and territorial aspects of Bronze Age activity.
The post-medieval building is of particular interest as it represents a
very well preserved example of a pre-19th century attempt at moorland
colonisation which did not develop beyond the construction of the dwelling
house and linhay.

Source: Historic England


Haynes, R.G., Ruined Sites on Dartmoor - Middleworth, 1966, Unpublished Manuscript
MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1998)
Title: Archaeological survey and evaluation: Powder Mills and Gawler
Source Date: 1989
1:10,000 Map

Source: Historic England

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