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A cairnfield, unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and boundary stone 380m south west of a ford on the Small Brook

A Scheduled Monument in Belstone, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6969 / 50°41'48"N

Longitude: -3.9532 / 3°57'11"W

OS Eastings: 262151.507669

OS Northings: 90403.296781

OS Grid: SX621904

Mapcode National: GBR Q4.YJB7

Mapcode Global: FRA 27L7.KQH

Entry Name: A cairnfield, unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and boundary stone 380m south west of a ford on the Small Brook

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016641

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28724

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Belstone

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

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

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

The monument, which falls into three areas, includes a cairnfield, unenclosed
stone hut circle settlement and post-medieval boundary stone situated on a
gentle north west facing slope overlooking Taw Marsh. The cairnfield includes
21 mounds standing between 0.4m and 0.8m high. Sixteen of the cairns are
circular in shape and measure between 2.6m and 6.5m in diameter, whilst the
remainder are oval and are up to 8m long by 4m wide. One of the cairns is
denoted by a well preserved kerb and another has seen partial robbing or early
antiquarian excavation.
The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement includes three huts which
survive as circular or oval banks each surrounding an internal area which
varies from 11 to 38 square metres. The height of the surrounding walls
varies between 0.25m and 0.35m. Two of the stone hut circles have visible
doorways and all three survive as earthworks with occasional protruding
orthostats.
The boundary stone standing within the monument lies on the South Tawton
and Dartmoor Forest parish boundary. The stone measures 1.3m long, 0.4m wide
by 0.3m thick, is leaning towards the NNW at 40 degrees from vertical and on
it's north eastern face the letter T has been carved.

MAP EXTRACT
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,
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. Cairnfields are concentrations of three or
more cairns sited within close proximity to one another; they may consist of
burial cairns or cairns built with stone cleared from the land surface
(clearance cairns). Round funerary cairns were constructed during the Bronze
Age (c.2000-700 BC) and consisted of earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes
ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. The
considerable variation in the size of cairnfields and their longevity as a
monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and
social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are
particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Stone hut circles were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor.
They mostly date from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples dating to
about 1700 BC. 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.
The cairnfield, unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and boundary stone 380m
south west of a ford on the Small Brook survive well and together contain
information relating to the exploitation and demarcation of this area during
the prehistoric and historic periods. Peat deposits covering much of the
monument have preserved the sensitive archaeological deposits and structures,
whilst also containing significant palaeoenvironmental information.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1998)

Source: Historic England

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