Ancient Monuments

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Two prehistoric settlements and associated field systems 810m north east of Beardown Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.571 / 50°34'15"N

Longitude: -3.9635 / 3°57'48"W

OS Eastings: 261054.7825

OS Northings: 76419.8053

OS Grid: SX610764

Mapcode National: GBR Q5.6FP3

Mapcode Global: FRA 27LK.7QY

Entry Name: Two prehistoric settlements and associated field systems 810m north east of Beardown Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 December 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021177

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34474

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


The monument, which falls into four separate areas of protection, includes
two prehistoric settlements and associated field systems lying on an east
facing slope of Beardown Hill overlooking the valley of the West Dart
The northern prehistoric settlement includes a cluster of at least five
stone hut circles. The stone hut circles survive as circular banks
surrounding an internal area which varies between 2.4m and 5.2m in
diameter. The height of the surrounding walls vary between 0.3m and 0.6m
and four of the huts have visible doorways.
The southern settlement includes at least eight stone hut circles together
with several lengths of enclosure walling. The internal diameter of these
stone hut circles varies between 3m and 4.3m and the surrounding walls are
up to 0.7m high. Four of the huts have visible doorways and one has a
drainage ditch around its upper circuit.
The field systems are situated between the two settlements and are defined
by a series of sinuous low rubble banks standing 1.4m wide and up to 0.4m
high. The northern field system includes at least five fields, whilst the
southern one is much smaller and includes two fields.

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 prehistoric settlements and associated field systems 810m north
east of Beardown Farm survive comparatively well. These settlements lie
close to one of the largest prehistoric settlements on Dartmoor and thus
provide a marked contrast to their neighbour. Much of the monument is
covered in dense peat deposits which will contain environmental
information and provide a protective cover for the archaeological remains.

Source: Historic England


NMR English Heritage, SX67NW60, (2002)
NMR English Heritage, SX67NW61, (2002)

Source: Historic England

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