Ancient Monuments

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Stone hut circle settlement at Higher Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Belstone, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7086 / 50°42'31"N

Longitude: -3.9651 / 3°57'54"W

OS Eastings: 261346.690428

OS Northings: 91728.733731

OS Grid: SX613917

Mapcode National: GBR Q4.XM9H

Mapcode Global: FRA 27L6.F36

Entry Name: Stone hut circle settlement at Higher Tor

Scheduled Date: 8 September 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021043

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34471

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Belstone

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Belstone St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement situated near
the summit of Higher Tor overlooking the valley of the River Taw. The stone
hut circles within the settlement all survive as circular banks surrounding an
internal area which varies between 4.1m and 5.5m in diameter. The height of
the surrounding walls vary between 0.4m and 0.5m. One of the huts is of
single orthostatic construction, whilst the character of the remainder could
not be identified because the turf cover has obscured the detail. Three of
the huts have visible doorways which face in a south easterly direction.

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 stone hut circle settlement at Higher Tor survives well and contains
important and informative archaeological structures, features and deposits
relating to prehistoric exploitation of this area. The settlement
overlooks the large valley basin formed by the River Taw and the
substantial, broadly contemporary, settlement complex on the lower slopes
of Cosdon Hill. Very few prehistoric settlements on Dartmoor are situated
close to the summit of substantial hills and this example will therefore
provide contrasting information.

Source: Historic England


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (2002)

Source: Historic England

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