Ancient Monuments

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Two stone hut circles 570m south west of Down Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Sheepstor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5045 / 50°30'16"N

Longitude: -4.01 / 4°0'36"W

OS Eastings: 257556.889855

OS Northings: 69113.730581

OS Grid: SX575691

Mapcode National: GBR Q2.YMRD

Mapcode Global: FRA 27HQ.MKL

Entry Name: Two stone hut circles 570m south west of Down Tor

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019572

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24111

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Sheepstor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


The monument includes two stone hut circles situated on a gentle south west
facing slope of Down Tor overlooking the valley of the Narrator Brook. The
interior of the western stone hut circle measures 8.9m in diameter and is
surrounded by a 1.3m wide single orthostatic wall standing up to 0.8m high. A
south facing gap in the wall may represent an original doorway. The southern
half of the eastern building has been removed by a later tin openwork, but
despite this, the original form of the building is clear. The remaining
single orthostatic hut wall stands up to 1.2m high by 1.5m wide and surrounds
an internal area measuring 8m in diameter. The tin openwork may have origins
in the later prehistoric period, although its later expansion is demonstrated
by the removal of part of the eastern hut circle.

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 two stone hut circles 570m south west of Down Tor survive on the edge of a
tin lode and may therefore contain information relating to the early
exploitation of lode tin. This is one of the few sites on the Moor where
unenclosed stone hut circles survive adjacent to a lode.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 89

Source: Historic England

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