Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement 320m south east of Higher Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Belstone, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7064 / 50°42'22"N

Longitude: -3.963 / 3°57'46"W

OS Eastings: 261485.475018

OS Northings: 91475.435074

OS Grid: SX614914

Mapcode National: GBR Q4.XV30

Mapcode Global: FRA 27L6.MXB

Entry Name: Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement 320m south east of Higher Tor

Scheduled Date: 24 July 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017988

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28676

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Belstone

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Belstone St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes three stone hut circles situated on a south east facing
slope of Higher Tor overlooking the valley of the River Taw. The stone hut
circles within the settlement all survive as banks each surrounding an
internal circular area which varies from 32 to 50 square metres with the
average being 41 square metres. The height of the surrounding walls vary
between 0.5m and 0.8m, with the average being 0.63m. One of the huts has a
visible doorway and all of them are of either single or double orthostatic

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 unenclosed stone hut circle settlement 320m south east of Higher Tor
survives well and contains archaeological structures, features and deposits
relating to prehistoric exploitation of this area. The settlement overlooks
the large valley basin formed by the River Taw and the substantial broadly
contempoary settlement complex on the lower slopes of Cosdon Hill.

Source: Historic England


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1997)

Source: Historic England

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