Ancient Monuments

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An agglomerated enclosure and two stone hut circles 580m west of Laughter Hole Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5674 / 50°34'2"N

Longitude: -3.9046 / 3°54'16"W

OS Eastings: 265209.287829

OS Northings: 75920.079588

OS Grid: SX652759

Mapcode National: GBR Q7.LQQC

Mapcode Global: FRA 27QK.LN3

Entry Name: An agglomerated enclosure and two stone hut circles 580m west of Laughter Hole Farm

Scheduled Date: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018513

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28690

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 includes an agglomerated enclosure and two stone hut circles
situated on the north west facing upper slope of Laughter Tor.
The agglomerated enclosure survives as at least four irregular shaped areas
each defined by boulder and rubble walling. Two stone hut circles survive
within the enclosure and one of these is attached to the enclosure walling.
The western stone hut circle lies in the centre of one of the enclosures and
survives as a 4.4m diameter circular area surrounded by a 1.8m wide
orthostatic wall standing up to 0.8m high. The interior of the second hut
measures 4.3m in diameter and the surrounding orthostatic wall is up to 2.4m
wide and 0.9m high.

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.

Despite partial afforestation, the agglomerated enclosure and two stone hut
circles 580m west of Laughter Hole Farm survive well and together with other
nearby broadly contemporary settlement sites and ceremonial monuments provides
an important insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation and exploitation
in the central part of Dartmoor. Relatively deep peat and soil deposits cover
this monument and these will contain evidence of environmental conditions from
the Bronze Age onwards.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 47

Source: Historic England

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