Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric stone hut circle settlement 630m south of Hemstone Rocks

A Scheduled Monument in Chagford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6299 / 50°37'47"N

Longitude: -3.9149 / 3°54'53"W

OS Eastings: 264662.480853

OS Northings: 82887.94865

OS Grid: SX646828

Mapcode National: GBR Q7.GN3Y

Mapcode Global: FRA 27PD.NNN

Entry Name: Prehistoric stone hut circle settlement 630m south of Hemstone Rocks

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018709

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28682

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Chagford

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 enclosed stone hut circle settlement lying on a north
facing steep slope within Great Stannon Newtake overlooking the valley of the
River South Teign. At least three enclosures survive within the settlement.
The western enclosure is sub oval in shape, measures 72m long by 44m wide and
is denoted by a 1m wide rubble bank standing up to 0.3m high. One stone hut
circle lies within the northern part of the enclosure and another is butted by
the enclosure wall. The central enclosure links two stone hut circles,
measures 30m long by 20m wide and is defined by a low rubble bank. The third
enclosure survives as two separate lengths of rubble walling whose original
extent is now partly hidden by peat accumulation.
The stone hut circles within the settlement all survive as banks each
surrounding an oval or circular internal area which varies from 8 square
metres to 13.85 square metres with the average being 11.77 square metres. The
height of the surrounding walls varies between 0.3m and 0.4m. The hut walls
appear to be of rubble bank construction, although soil accummulation makes
positive identification difficult.

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 prehistoric stone hut circle settlement 630m south of Hemstone Rocks
survives well and together with other nearby broadly contemporary settlement
sites, ceremonial monuments and land division boundaries provides an important
insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation and exploitation on the
eastern fringes of the northern moor. Relatively deep peat and soil deposits
cover this monument and these will contain information about past
environmental conditions.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 158

Source: Historic England

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