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Unenclosed prehistoric hut circle settlement and associated field system and cremation cemetery at Blea Gill

A Scheduled Monument in Appletreewick, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.0888 / 54°5'19"N

Longitude: -1.9243 / 1°55'27"W

OS Eastings: 405048.896296

OS Northings: 465880.626839

OS Grid: SE050658

Mapcode National: GBR HP05.60

Mapcode Global: WHB6Q.DHX9

Entry Name: Unenclosed prehistoric hut circle settlement and associated field system and cremation cemetery at Blea Gill

Scheduled Date: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018689

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31336

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Appletreewick

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Details

The monument includes the remains of a prehistoric settlement and associated
field sysytem. Also included is an area containing prehistoric burials. It is
located on the the north side of the steep-sided valley of Blea Gill which
lies at the north west end of Grimwith Reservoir, 3.5km north east of Hebden.
It is divided into two areas of protection separated by a natural gully. The
settlement remains lie on the steep valley side in the area to the west, and
in the area to the east the field system lies on gently sloping ground. The
area of burials occupies the two natural knolls further to the east.
The settlement remains occupy three gently shelving natural platforms on the
valley side. On the lowest platform is a circular stone bank 13m in diameter.
The stone walling for this survives to a height of 1.2m. To the west of this
feature the sides of the platform have been built up with a wall which
survives as a low bank. A hut circle 5.5m in diameter lies towards the west
end of the platform. To the north of this platform, on a second terrace, are
the remains of two hut circles and a small paddock. To the south east of this
terrace, and slightly lower, is the third terrace where remains of a small
enclosure bank survive. The field system lies on sloping ground with a
southerly aspect. The surviving remains occupy an area of approximately 160m
east to west by 110m north to south. The field system includes at least five
irregular shaped enclosures delimited by spread banks of stones. The banks are
up to 2.5m wide and 0.5m high. Some have small sub-circular features at their
ends which are thought to be small hut circles. At least one isolated hut
circle lies near to the field system east of the gully.
At the east of the monument the field banks extend around and enclose two
natural knolls. Both the knolls are in a prominent position overlooking the
settlement to the west and the valley of the River Dibb to the east. On the
summit of the northern higher knoll are remains of slight stone dump
structures which are interpreted as the remains of a Bronze Age flat cremation
cemetery. The cemetery is also thought to extend to the lower knoll to the
south.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Unenclosed hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric
farmers. The hut circles take a variety of forms. Some are stone based and are
visible as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. Others were
timber constructions and only the shallow groove in which the timber uprights
used in the wall construction stood can now be identified; this may survive as
a slight earthwork feature or may be visible on aerial photographs. Some can
only be identified by the artificial earthwork platforms created as level
stances for the houses. The number of houses in a settlement varies between
one and twelve. In areas where they were constructed on hillslopes the
platforms on which the houses stood are commonly arrayed in tiers along the
contour of the slope. Several settlements have been shown to be associated
with organised field plots, the fields being defined by low stony banks or
indicated by groups of clearance cairns.
Many unenclosed settlements have been shown to date to the Bronze Age but it
is also clear that they were still being constructed and used in the Early
Iron Age. They provide an important contrast to the various types of enclosed
and defended settlements which were also being constructed and used around the
same time. Their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument
types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation
and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.

Flat cremation cemeteries are groups of cremation burials usually contained
within cordoned or collared urns, set in shallow pit graves which have been
dug into the sub-soil or bedrock. The grave pits were often covered only by a
flat stone or low stone heap known as a cairn. Some grave pits have associated
stakeholes which have been interpreted as grave-markers. The surface
indications of such cemeteries are, by their nature, slight. Flat cremation
cemeteries have been proved on excavation to be closely associated with Early
Bronze Age settlement activity, including stone field banks, cairns and ring
cairns.
The unenclosed hut circle settlement and associated features at Blea Gill
survive well. Significant archaeological remains will be preserved. The
monument offers important scope for understanding settlement and social
organisation in the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Denison, E, Archaeological Survey, Blea Gill, Hebden, North Yorkshire, (1996)
Denison, E, Archaeological Survey, Blea Gill, Hebden, North Yorkshire, (1996)
Laurie, T, Blea Gill - Knot End/Bracken Haw, (1997)
Laurie, T, Blea Gill - Knot End/Bracken Haw, (1997)
Other
Laurie, T, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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