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Prehistoric hut circle settlement on Stanning Hill

A Scheduled Monument in St. Neot, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5521 / 50°33'7"N

Longitude: -4.5884 / 4°35'18"W

OS Eastings: 216733.062765

OS Northings: 75683.183905

OS Grid: SX167756

Mapcode National: GBR N8.GH7M

Mapcode Global: FRA 178L.XZ2

Entry Name: Prehistoric hut circle settlement on Stanning Hill

Scheduled Date: 16 March 1999

Last Amended: 17 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016921

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15543

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Neot

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Altarnon with Bolventor

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a prehistoric hut circle settlement situated over the
southern half of Stanning Hill, a low hill rising from the central watershed
of Bodmin Moor. The monument is divided into three areas of protection.
The settlement extends across the top and gentle south westerly slope of the
shallow-domed hill. Within the settlement, a central group of five hut circles
is closely spaced over 85m as a WNW-ESE row on the upper slope. The
settlement's other hut circles are more widely scattered across the slope, to
both north east and south of the central row and up to 130m from it. Within
the settlement, the hut circles survive with circular internal areas levelled
into the hillslope. Nine are in the range 3.5m to 5.5m in internal diameter
but the largest, to the south west of the central row, is 9.5m in diameter
internally. The hut circle interiors are defined by walling visible variously
as low rubble banks, to 1m wide and 0.2m high, or as a line of spaced slabs,
often edge-set and in the range 0.3m-0.5m high. The low height and several
breaks visible in the hut circle walling are attributable to some relatively
recent stone robbing. Related disturbance close to the modern farm and
enclosure walls on the east of the hill is considered to account for the
flattening along one side of the settlement's south eastern hut circle and for
the loss of at least one further hut circle formerly recorded beyond the north
east limit of this scheduling.
The hut circle settlement is one of a very small number of prehistoric
settlements in the remote central area of Bodmin Moor. These settlements, on
the more favourable southerly aspects of some of the central moor's hills, are
visible as close groupings of hut circles, some with short connecting walls
and limited areas of enclosures, others lacking any evident enclosures or
field system as is the case in this scheduling. Other such settlements occur
beyond this scheduling from 1.25km to the south west on Brockaburrow Common
and from 2.3km to the SSW on Blacktor Downs. As a settlement type, they are
viewed as habitations of prehistoric herdsmen and form a marked contrast with
the more extensive prehistoric settlements and associated field systems which
survive around the periphery of Bodmin Moor.

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

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been
recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The
Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the
best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of
prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human
exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The
well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field
systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains
provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land
use through time. Stone hut circles were the dwelling places of prehistoric
farmers on the Moor, mostly dating from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The
stone-based round houses survive as low walls or banks enclosing a circular
floor area; remains of a turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts occur
singly or in small or large groups and may occur in the open or be enclosed by
a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their
longevity of use and their relationship with other monument types provides
important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming
practices among prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative
of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

The prehistoric hut circle settlement on Stanning Hill survives reasonably
well. Despite the relatively recent attention from stone robbers, the
character of this settlement and the form of its contained hut circles remain
clear, while the visible integrity of the hut circles' levelled interiors
demonstrates the lack of disturbance to their sub-surface structural features
and occupation deposits. As one of the few and distinctive prehistoric
settlements near the centre of the moor, this hut circle settlement is of
particular importance in understanding the nature and organisation of
prehistoric land use both in its remote upland vicinity and across the moor as
a whole.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Johnson, N, Rose, P, 'The Human Landscape to c 1800' in Bodmin Moor An Archaeological Survey, (1994)
Johnson, N, Rose, P, 'The Human Landscape to c 1800' in Bodmin Moor An Archaeological Survey, (1994)
Carter, A/RCHME, Bodmin Moor Survey; 1:2500 air photo plot, SX 1675, (1984)
CAU, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 3149 & 3149.01-.09, (1997)
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map: SX 17 NE
Source Date: 1988

Source: Historic England

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