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Coaxial fields, prehistoric settlement, two cairns and a stone alignment in Little Stannon Newtake, 900m south east of Stannon Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6082 / 50°36'29"N

Longitude: -3.9027 / 3°54'9"W

OS Eastings: 265466.3852

OS Northings: 80449.7965

OS Grid: SX654804

Mapcode National: GBR Q7.J583

Mapcode Global: FRA 27QG.FDD

Entry Name: Coaxial fields, prehistoric settlement, two cairns and a stone alignment in Little Stannon Newtake, 900m south east of Stannon Tor

Scheduled Date: 22 June 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021339

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34498

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

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, which falls into four separate areas of protection,
comprises a group of coaxial fields, an associated prehistoric settlement,
two cairns and a stone alignment situated on a west facing slope
overlooking the valley of the Stannon Brook. The coaxial fields survive as
a group arranged on a single north east-south west prevailing axis,
subdivided by transverse boundaries. The boundaries survive as stony banks
measuring up to 3m wide and 0.7m high. Within the southernmost field there
is a stone hut circle settlement. This survives as a cluster of at least
five stone hut circles and a number of lengths of rubble walling which
denote the position of small enclosures.
The northern cairn within the monument stands a short distance north of
the northernmost field boundary. The cairn survives as a 6.5m diameter
mound standing up to 0.6m high. A shallow hollow in the centre of the
mound is the result of an excavation by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee
in 1896. This work revealed a pit containing charcoal, burnt bone and a
flint flake. A group of four edge set stones standing up to 1m high
situated to the south east of the cairn represent the remains of a stone
alignment. The second cairn within the monument stands at NGR SX65468105
and survives as a 4.5m diameter mound standing up to 0.5m high. The
western edge of the mound is denoted by a kerb of edge set slabs standing
up to 1.15m high, whilst on the east it survives as a buried feature
beneath a later boundary bank. In the centre of the mound is a cist which
survives as a rectangular pit denoted by edge set slabs. The cist is
orientated north - south and measures 1.2m long, by 0.5m wide.

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. Elaborate complexes of fields and
field boundaries are some of the major features of the Dartmoor landscape. The
reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced
during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They consist of simple linear stone
banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which are tens of
kilometres in extent. The systems are defined by parallel, contour and
watershed reaves, dividing the lower land from the grazing zones of the higher
moor and defining the watersheds of adjacent river systems. Occupation sites
and funerary or ceremonial monuments are often incorporated in, or associated
with, reave complexes. Their longevity and their relationship with other
monument types provide important information on the diversity of social
organisation, land divisions and farming practices amongst prehistoric
communities. They show considerable longevity as a monument type, sometimes
surviving as fossilised examples in medieval field plans. They are an
important element in the existing landscape and, as such, a substantial
proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-7000BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the
latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials
were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or
multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often
occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the
modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a
mounument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs
and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are
particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion
of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor
provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round
cairns in south-western Britain.
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.2400-2000BC). 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 survivng examples are considered nationally important, unless
very badly damaged.
The coaxial fields, prehistoric settlement, two cairns and stone alignment
in Little Stannon Newtake, 900m south east of Stannon Tor, survive well
and will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to
the use of this area during the prehistoric period. These fields form part
of the Stannon block system which is the most extensive and best preserved
of the block systems on Dartmoor.
The relationship between the field system and the ritual sites in
particular will provide an insight into the complex character of land use.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 168-169
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 168
RCHME, , Little Stannon Newtake, (1989)
SX 68 SE 77, NMR, English Heritage, NMR Monument Report, (2003)
SX 68 SE 79, NMR, English Heritage, NMR Monument Report, (2003)

Source: Historic England

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