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HER Number:MDV14799
Name:Enclosed hut circle settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior

Summary

Enclosed settlement on Dean Moor, excavated between 1954 and 1956, prior to construction of the reservoir. Prehistoric walled enclosure containing at least 13 huts together with pens. Part of site now flooded by Avon Reservoir.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 677 654
Map Sheet:SX66NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDean Prior
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishDEAN PRIOR

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX66NE19
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 441405
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NE/73
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NE/73/11
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NE/73/12
  • Old SAM County Ref: 282

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ENCLOSED HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Enclosure and 'Hut Circles' shown on 19th century map.

Royal Air Force, 1948, RAF/CPE/UK/2494, 4115-6 (Aerial Photograph). SDV147533.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950/1977, SX66NE19, settlement (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV175247.

(1950) Enclosure and 10 hut circles correct as shown on the 1907 Ordnance Survey map.
(01/07/1977) The enclosure, 140m x 90m and 1.1 hectares, lies on a gentle, well drained, south facing slope at 345m above OD and is as excavated by Lady Fox (see Fox 1957/1958). The 9 (one double) type II hut circles, average internal diameter 6.5m, walls 1.5m wide and in fair condition, are terraced into the slope and have entrances in the south quadrant.
The sub-rectangular structures measure 8m by 6m, and 6m by 4.5m; the irregular structures about 4.5m, all internally. The lower part of the enclosure, half of hut 8, and the entire Medieval homestead, are submerged by the Avon Dam Reservoir.
1:10 000 Survey revised on PFD.

Fox, A., 1957, Excavations at Dean Moor (1954-1956), 53-71, figs 4, 18-19, 23-4, plate 7 (Article in Serial). SDV167114.

Enclosed settlement on Dean Moor, excavated between 1954 and 1956, prior to construction of the reservoir. Prehistoric walled enclosure containing 10 huts together with pens. Parallels have been drawn with the settlement at Kestor. Part of the prehistoric settlement was incorporated into a medieval farmstead (MDV14221). Part of site now flooded by Avon Reservoir.
Whetstone and grinders found in every hut, usually on the top of the floor and often near the wall base. All had been broken in antiquity, and so discarded. They belong to two groups. Group A are thin flat slabs, straight-edged, water-worn, of a dull red or pinkish grey colour. Wear normally on the flat faces. Several have v-section grooves, worn by pointing implements. Material is a fine-grained ferruginous sandstone.
Group B. Long hones, rectangular in section, and of a warm grey colour. Mostly of sandstone, one of slate. Grinders. No.13 rubber of red tourmaline granite (Hut 5b). No.14. Part of a saddle quern of granite. Sides very friable (Hut 2). No.15. Hammerstone of granite (Hut 2).
32 pieces of flint were found distributed in nine of the huts. Dark opaque flint, brownish-black in colour. Probably from beach pebbles or from Haldon. Eight pieces of fine, translucent flint of the Beer type. Majority of the flints are flakes or scrapers: four show serrations or slight microlithic flaking along some edges. Eight have been used as implements, similar to those found in a secondary Neolithic assemblage. These include a triangular petit tranchet derivative arrowhead (Hut 3), a well-made blade (Hut 2) and two other blades with secondary working and pressure flaking, a point worked on both sides. A scraper and a knife. None of these resemble late Bronze Age types. May represent earlier occupations.

Fox, A., 1958, A Monastic Homestead on Dean Moor, S. Devon, 141-157 (Article in Serial). SDV137725.

The enclosed hut group and the adjoining Medieval homestead at Dean Moor were excavated by Lady Aileen Fox for the Ministry of Works in 1954-6. The enclosure of the type generally known as a pound consisted of the remains of a dry stone wall surrounding a sub-rectangular area of 2.5 acres.
The enclosure contains nine free standing huts, two sub-rectangular structures built on the inside of the wall and four irregular structures added to it externally. Finds included pottery, whetstones and grinders, carnelian beads and a shale spindle-whorl, which taken as a whole place the central date for occupation as Late Bronze Age, probably continuing into the Iron Age. Also found were 32 flints of poor quality, eight of which "would not be out of place in a Secondary Neolithic assemblage".
There is no evidence of a flint industry contemporary with the huts and the flints are probably relics of some earlier sparse or transit occupation. Adjoining the pound on the south side and incorporating part of it is a Medieval homestead covering an area of some four acres. The farm buildings consist of a house and a byre set side by side and linked by an enclosed yard and with a shed or pen butted up against the west side of the house; all are constructed of granite boulders. The buildings had been levelled into the hillside, and set with their long axes parallel to the slope. All the pottery from the site date from the 13th or 14th centuries, covering at the most a period of a hundred years circa 1250-1350.
The cartulary of Buckfast Abbey refers to a dwelling and stock enclosure held prior to the Black Death in this vicinity, and this is in agreement with the archaeological evidence. (The Medieval site appears to have been destroyed by the reservoir).

Fox, A., 1973, South West England 3,500BC - AD600 (Revised Edition), (1973 revised ed) pg. 103-105 (Monograph). SDV16216.

Excavation at Dean Moor has shown that hut circles here with a conical roof, thatched, were supported on a central upright post and a ring of six or seven others, 3 or 4 feet away from the hut wall. The principal rafters rested on these and on the wall-top, wedged amongst the large stones, and converged at the apex where they could be secured to the centre post. Lighter timbers would be fastened to the rafters, and the remaining space filled with supple hazel or alder branches, as a foundation for a reed or heather thatch. The roof structure would resemble a spider's web, with a hole in the centre for the smoke to escape. Further details given.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East, 147-150, Map 57, Figure 57.16 (Monograph). SDV337765.

'Brookhill Foot West enclosure'. The excavation of this group of huts is one of the most important so far on the moor, prompted by the construction of the Avon reservoir, which partly submerges the site. Ten huts shown as Hut Circles '1'to '9' were excavated along with associated pens and structures and there are three previously unrecorded huts.

Ordnance Survey, 2015, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV357601.

Enclosure and huts depicted on the modern mapping, although the huts are shown at a standard size and are over-large.

Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC, 2015-2017, 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV361462.

Enclosure visible on aerial photograph.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV137725Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1958. A Monastic Homestead on Dean Moor, S. Devon. Medieval Archaeology. 2. Photocopy + Digital. 141-157.
SDV147533Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1948. RAF/CPE/UK/2494. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4115-6.
SDV16216Monograph: Fox, A.. 1973. South West England 3,500BC - AD600 (Revised Edition). South West England. Hardback Volume. (1973 revised ed) pg. 103-105.
SDV167114Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1957. Excavations at Dean Moor (1954-1956). Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 89. Paperback Volume. 53-71, figs 4, 18-19, 23-4, plate 7.
SDV175247Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950/1977. SX66NE19. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index. settlement.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337765Monograph: Butler, J.. 1993. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East. Four. Paperback Volume. 147-150, Map 57, Figure 57.16.
SDV357601Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2015. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV361462Aerial Photograph: Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. 2015-2017. 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs. Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. Photograph (Digital). [Mapped feature: #81351 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV108858Parent of: Cattle shed on perimeter of enclosed hut settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV5261Parent of: Enclosure wall at settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV5262Parent of: Hut circle '1' in enclosed hut settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129619Parent of: Hut circle '13' in enclosed hut settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129620Parent of: Hut circle '14' in enclosed hut settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV108856Parent of: Hut circle '15' on perimeter of hut circle settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV5264Parent of: Hut circle '2' in enclosed hut settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV5268Parent of: Hut circle '3' in enclosed hut settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV5269Parent of: Hut circle '4' in enclosed hut settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV5281Parent of: Hut circle '6' in enclosed hut settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV5283Parent of: Hut circle '7' in enclosed hut settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV5285Parent of: Hut circle '8' in enclosed hut settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV5286Parent of: Hut circle '9' and later structure in enclosed hut settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV108857Parent of: Hut circle in enclosure of settlement on Dean Moor (Monument)
MDV5273Parent of: Hut circles '5A' and '5B' in the enclosed hut settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV24949Related to: Avon Dam Reservoir (Monument)
MDV5303Related to: Hut circle and yard on Hickaton Hill, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV14221Related to: Monastic homestead submerged by Avon Dam Reservoir, Dean Prior (Building)
MDV5289Related to: Ore found at settlement on Dean Moor (Monument)
MDV129621Related to: Pen to the south-east of hut circle settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV24705Related to: Reave at eastern end of Avon Dam Reservoir (Monument)
MDV5290Related to: Reave on northern side of the Avon Dam Reservoir (Monument)
MDV108855Related to: Structures on western perimeter of hut circle settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV5665 - FLINT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV3214 - WHETSTONE (Early Neolithic to Late Iron Age - 4000 BC to 42 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV8466 - Excavations in the Avon Valley

Date Last Edited:Jan 4 2022 2:29PM