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Stone alignment, cairns, enclosed prehistoric settlement and a length of reave on Hurston Ridge

A Scheduled Monument in Chagford, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6285 / 50°37'42"N

Longitude: -3.8771 / 3°52'37"W

OS Eastings: 267328.242479

OS Northings: 82657.331551

OS Grid: SX673826

Mapcode National: GBR Q8.NZQ0

Mapcode Global: FRA 27RD.Z6X

Entry Name: Stone alignment, cairns, enclosed prehistoric settlement and a length of reave on Hurston Ridge

Scheduled Date: 27 June 1963

Last Amended: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019577

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28779

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Chagford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Chagford St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

The monument includes a stone alignment, cairns, enclosed prehistoric
settlement and a length of reave on a gentle north facing slope of Hurston
Ridge. The stone alignment includes two parallel lines of upright stones
leading downslope for 143m from a round cairn. The lower end of the alignment
is denoted by a blocking stone. Midway along the alignment a length of later
enclosure walling crosses the row. The cairn at the upper end of the
alignment measures 5.9m in diameter and stands up to 0.6m high. A large slab
denoting the north eastern edge of the cairn may represent a second blocking
stone of the associated alignment. The second cairn within this monument lies
at NGR SX67668350, adjacent to an agglomerated enclosure. This cairn measures
4m in diameter and stands 0.5m high. Hollows in the centre of both cairns
indicate that they have been subjected to partial early excavation or
robbing.
The agglomerated enclosure attached to the Hurston Ridge reave near its
northern end survives as two `D'-shaped areas surrounded by 3m wide banks
standing up to 0.6m high. The northern enclosure is earliest and the interior
of the southern one has been disturbed by peat cutting. The southern
enclosure about 1km further south, contains at least six stone hut circles
with a seventh attached to the outer face of the enclosure wall. This
enclosure measures 210m long by up to 118m wide and is denoted by orthostatic
walling.
This wall passes across the stone alignment which as a result lies partially
within the enclosure. The stone hut circles associated with the enclosure
survive as banks each surrounding a circular internal area 3m to 5m in
diameter, with the average being 3.9m. The heights of the surrounding walls
vary between 0.25m and 0.6m, with the average being 0.42m. Six of the huts are
butted to earlier enclosure or reave walling, whilst one appears to have been
cut into the reave.
The surviving length of the Hurston Ridge reave leads from NGR SX66708166
to SX67738404 and for much of its length is a wide bank up to 4m wide and
0.8m high. This reave is considered to represent a territorial division
between two prehistoric communities.

MAP EXTRACT
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 alignments or stone rows
consist of upright stones set in single file or in avenues of two or more
parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are often
physically linked to burial monuments, such as small cairns, cists and
barrows, and are considered to have had an important ceremonial function. The
Dartmoor alignments mostly date from the Late Neolithic period (c.2400-2000
BC). Some eighty examples, most of them on the outer Moor, provide over half
the recorded national population. Due to their comparative rarity and
longevity as a monument type, all surviving examples are considered nationally
important, unless very badly damaged.

The relationship between the stone alignment, enclosure and reave on Hurston
Ridge is especially important as it graphically illustrates the chronological
range of this monument as well as providing more general information on the
relative date of stone alignments. Within this monument it is clear that the
stone alignment was built first, followed by the reave, then the enclosure and
finally the hut stone hut circles. This is the only site on the Moor where
major classes of prehistoric monument have such a clearly defined chronology.
All of the components survive well and will contain archaeological and
environmental evidence for the monument and the landscape in which it was
constructed.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 31
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 32
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The Second Millennium B.C.' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 5, (1997), 221
Other
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (2000)

Source: Historic England

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