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HER Number:MDV3312
Name:Hut circle settlement at Watern Oke

Summary

A group of ninety mutilated hut circles and fragmentary enclosure walls lie on the crest and south-east flank of Watern Oke. The huts are poorly preserved, most having been excavated although six remain wholly or partially intact. Within the settlement are twelve natural stony hollows which were interpreted as hut circles and excavated by Anderson. The huts are relatively small with internal diameters in the range 1.8m to 5.2m. Entrances, where apparent, are generally concentrated in the S and E quadrants. Many of the huts are linked by fragments of contemporise walling, stony banks averaging 1.0m wide and a maximum of 0.6m high. They form no identifiable pattern. Finds from the site included an allegedly Roman bead of about the 1st-2nd century AD and flint arrowheads.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 566 834
Map Sheet:SX58SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX58SE9
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 440603
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX58SE/16
  • Old SAM County Ref: 488
  • Old SAM Ref: 20354
  • Old SAM Ref: 20355
  • Old SAM Ref: 20356
  • Old SAM Ref: 20357
  • Old SAM Ref: 20359
  • Old SAM Ref: 20360
  • Old SAM Ref: 20361
  • Old SAM Ref: 20362

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Defence Estates, Dartmoor Ministry of Defence Training Areas (Cartographic). SDV363722.

Anderson, I. K., 1906, 11th Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 101-113 (Article in Serial). SDV337055.

(SX 56608345) Enclosures & Hut Circles (NR). The hut circle settlement at Watern Oke was excavated in July 1905 and 94 huts were examined. Considerable amounts of charcoal were found together with the usual accompanying cooking stones, pottery and flints, including flint arrowheads. Most of the huts were circular, ranging in diameter from 7 ft to 19 ft with a smaller number oval in shape, and a few of irregular shape which were probably cooking pits.
In one of the larger huts (No 57) was found a small blue glass bead, 1/2" long and 1/10" diameter.

Burnard, R., 1911, Address of the President, 49 (Article in Serial). SDV231227.

Worth, R. H., 1943, The Prehistoric Pounds of Dartmoor, 295 (Article in Serial). SDV320337.

Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1995, 3376-3378 (Aerial Photograph). SDV224714.

Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/2149, 4296 (Aerial Photograph). SDV282746.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950, SX58SE9 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV232751.

(07/07/1950) The walls of the hut circles are composed of the usual turf covered stones.
Hut settlement at Watern Oak; contains about 94 hut circles. It was excavated in July 1905. Enclosures in the form of slight connecting walls are present also. Charcoal in considerable quantities, much more than usual, was found in most of the huts with the usual accompanying cooking stones, pottery and flints; also a small glass bead, blue in colour and semi opaque, which was dug up about 762mm below the surface in hut 57 (MDV3550). The whole settlement seems to have been intended for occupation in connection with peaceful pursuits (citing Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 1906, 101-113).
According to Lady Fox (oral information, 09-NOV-51) the bead found in hut 57 may be a Romano-British melon bead (1st or early 2nd century date). It most nearly resembles one found with 2nd century Roman remains at Water Newton (TL 19 NW62).

Ralegh Radford, C. A., 1952 /1953, Prehistoric Settlements on Dartmoor and the Cornish Moors, 67-68, 70 (Article in Serial). SDV337080.

Fourteen of the 94 huts excavated produced pottery. The huts were all of the same small type. Largest internal diameter 6.0m.

Ancient Monuments, 1961 / 1990, Scheduling description (Schedule Document). SDV232757.

(September 1961) Large late Bronze Age / Iron Age village of at least 56 small circular huts. On the upper edge, among clitter there are some enclosure walls. Moorland. Finds in Plymouth Museum. Internal diameter of hut circles est 6.096m.
(1990) 60 hut circles, of which 51 circular, 9 oval. Circular huts range 1.5m to 6.6m internal diameter; oval huts 2.4m to 6.4m long by 1.8m to 4.3m wide. Height 0.5m to 1.1m. 34 of the huts contain hearths; 5 have porches; 2 have internal partitions; 1 a bench; 1 an annexe. 29 of the huts are attached to boundary walls. 56 huts were partially excavated in 1905. Recovery of a Romano-British glass bead suggests more than one period of occupation (see related records). Further huts probably survive to the north, but these are not included in the scheduling.

St. Joseph, J. K. S., 1967, Unknown title, 60-61 (Article in Serial). SDV219152.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1979, SX58SE9 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV224436.

(05/11/1979) In the clitter above the steep slopes of the River Tavy at Watern Oke, between 423m and 441m OD, are ninety-nine Type 1 (SX 56 SE 19) hut circles, the majority in very poor condition due to the 1905 excavations.
Some are linked by rubble walling, 0.9m wide and 0.3m high. The internal diameter of the huts vary from 2.1m to 7.2m with rubble walling between 0.6m and 1.2m wide and up to 1.0m high internally.
With reference to the Anderson's plan (1906), huts (12) and (22) have porches while hut (17) has internal subdivisions. Hut (27c) is now much covered by peat which is encroaching upon the whole site. Hut (81) is now merely a pit and reference to the 1906 description shows that because it lacked stone the excavators considered it doubtful.
The roofed shelter at SX 56548338 (See large scale plan) appears to be relatively recent. Two linked huts at SX 56448347 (A) and SX 56458349 (B) are additional. Huts (82) and (80) are now SX 58 SE 12 and SX 58 SE 25.
Surveyed at 1:10 000 on MSD. See ground photograph. Alterations made to Anderson's plan.

Attrill, N., 1980, Plan of Watern Oke settlement after Anderson (Plan - measured). SDV232755.

Robinson, R., 1982, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1982 (Un-published). SDV342809.

(26/08/1982) Department of Environment Field Monument Warden site visit.

Robinson, R., 1983, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983 (Un-published). SDV345762.

Visited 19/01/1983 and 03/09/1983.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

Open settlement of 35 hut circles in two separate groups, though the Ordnance Survey shows hut circles between the two areas. Drawing made from very faded 1947 photograph.

Robinson, R., 1986, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1986 (Un-published). SDV345664.

Visited 29/09/1986.

Dick, A. M., 1993, Comment by SMR officer (Personal Comment). SDV232761.

(21/10/1993) NB: Area scheduled under Devon SAM 488 approximately 425m by 225m. Area scheduled under SAM 20354 approximately 350m by 50m. Some huts outside new area now scheduled in their own right (SX58SE/6, 75-77) but others may have been de facto descheduled.
As above. Scheduling because they are buried below peat.

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1993-1998, Dartmoor Royal Forest Project (Report - Survey). SDV346608.

(15/08/1995) Centred SX56578341. A group of ninety mutilated hut circles and fragmentary enclosure walls lie on the crest and SE flank of Watern Oke, a steep stony hillside above the right bank of the River Tavy. The huts are poorly preserved, most having been excavated by Anderson although six (nos 20, 32, 34, 40, 58 and 77) remain wholly or partially intact. None of the excavations seem to have been backfilled and many of the huts were so badly reconstructed that they now appear somewhat rectangular in plan. Within the settlement are twelve natural stony hollows which were interpreted as hut circles and excavated by Anderson. A further feature resembling a tin pit at the E end of the site was also thought to be a hut circle (Anderson's no 81) and was excavated. Two later structures (now SX 58 SE 25 and 36) lie within the settlement area and were also described by Anderson.
The remains suggest that the huts at Watern Oke were relatively small with internal diameters in the range 1.8m to 5.2m. Entrances, where apparent, are generally concentrated in the S and E quadrants though several may have been created at the whim of the excavator. Many of the huts are linked by fragments of contemporary walling, stony banks averaging 1.0m wide and a maximum of 0.6m high. They form no identifiable pattern.
Of the four additional 'huts' depicted and described by Butler (1991, 102) two, at approximately SX56398364 and SX56418349, are natural features.
A list giving the measurements of each structure is in the archive.

Probert, S. + Fletcher, M. + Newman, P., 1998, Willsworthy Training Area, Peter Tavy, Devon: An Archaeological survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (Report - Survey). SDV350638.

Probert, S., 2001, Willsworthy Training Area, Peter Tavy, Devon. Integrated Land Management Plan Implementation: Archaeological Condition Baseline Survey Appendices 2-5 (Report - Survey). SDV357727.

Probert, S. A. J. + Newman, P., 2003-2004, Measured survey North Dartmoor Military Range Okehampton Range: Monument Baseline Condition Survey (Report - Survey). SDV350801.

(21/08/2003) This settlement remains as described by the Royal Commission in 1995. The individual features remain in a stable condition with no signs of recent disturbance.

Probert, S., 2007, A Condition Survey of the Archaeological Sites of the Willsworthy Freehold, Dartmoor Training Area (Report - Survey). SDV357728.

Probert, S., 2013, A Condition Survey of the Archaeological Sites of the Willsworthy Freehold, Dartmoor Training Area (Report - Survey). SDV357729.

Newman, P., 2019, A Condition Survey of the Archaeological Sites of the Willsworthy Freehold, Dartmoor Training Area (Report - Survey). SDV363156.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV219152Article in Serial: St. Joseph, J. K. S.. 1967. Unknown title. Antiquity. 41. 60-61.
SDV224436Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1979. SX58SE9. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Unknown.
SDV224714Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1995. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3376-3378.
SDV231227Article in Serial: Burnard, R.. 1911. Address of the President. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 43. A5 Hardback. 49.
SDV232751Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950. SX58SE9. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV232755Plan - measured: Attrill, N.. 1980. Plan of Watern Oke settlement after Anderson. 1:2500. Photocopy.
SDV232757Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 1961 / 1990. Scheduling description. The Schedule of Monuments. Unknown.
SDV232761Personal Comment: Dick, A. M.. 1993. Comment by SMR officer. Not Applicable.
SDV282746Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/2149. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4296.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV320337Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1943. The Prehistoric Pounds of Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 75. A5 Hardback. 295.
SDV337055Article in Serial: Anderson, I. K.. 1906. 11th Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 38. A5 Hardback. 101-113.
SDV337080Article in Serial: Ralegh Radford, C. A.. 1952 /1953. Prehistoric Settlements on Dartmoor and the Cornish Moors. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 18. Digital. 67-68, 70.
SDV342809Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1982. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1982. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Unknown.
SDV345664Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1986. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1986. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
SDV345762Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1983. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
SDV346608Report - Survey: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1993-1998. Dartmoor Royal Forest Project. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field/Recording In. Unknown.
SDV350638Report - Survey: Probert, S. + Fletcher, M. + Newman, P.. 1998. Willsworthy Training Area, Peter Tavy, Devon: An Archaeological survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field/Recording In. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. [Mapped feature: #133948 ]
SDV350801Report - Survey: Probert, S. A. J. + Newman, P.. 2003-2004. Measured survey North Dartmoor Military Range Okehampton Range: Monument Baseline Condition Survey. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey. 28-2004. Unknown.
SDV357727Report - Survey: Probert, S.. 2001. Willsworthy Training Area, Peter Tavy, Devon. Integrated Land Management Plan Implementation: Archaeological Condition Baseline Survey Appendices 2-5. English Heritage Archaeological Investigation Report. A4 Comb Bound + Digital.
SDV357728Report - Survey: Probert, S.. 2007. A Condition Survey of the Archaeological Sites of the Willsworthy Freehold, Dartmoor Training Area. Not applicable. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV357729Report - Survey: Probert, S.. 2013. A Condition Survey of the Archaeological Sites of the Willsworthy Freehold, Dartmoor Training Area. Not applicable. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV363156Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2019. A Condition Survey of the Archaeological Sites of the Willsworthy Freehold, Dartmoor Training Area. Southwest Landscape Investigations. A4 Comb Bound.

Associated Monuments

MDV50713Parent of: Cooking pit, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50383Parent of: Hut /hearth 46a, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3313Parent of: Hut circle 1, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3324Parent of: Hut circle 11, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3325Parent of: Hut circle 12, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3516Parent of: Hut circle 13, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3517Parent of: Hut circle 14, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3518Parent of: Hut circle 15, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3519Parent of: Hut circle 16, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3520Parent of: Hut circle 17, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3521Parent of: Hut circle 18, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3522Parent of: Hut circle 19, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3314Parent of: Hut circle 1a, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3315Parent of: Hut circle 2, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3523Parent of: Hut circle 20, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3524Parent of: Hut circle 21, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3525Parent of: Hut circle 21a, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3526Parent of: Hut circle 22, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3527Parent of: Hut circle 23, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3528Parent of: Hut circle 24, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3529Parent of: Hut circle 24a, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3530Parent of: Hut circle 25, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3531Parent of: Hut circle 25a, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3532Parent of: Hut circle 26, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3533Parent of: Hut circle 27, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50376Parent of: Hut circle 27a, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3534Parent of: Hut circle 28, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50375Parent of: Hut circle 29, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50377Parent of: Hut circle 29, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3316Parent of: Hut circle 3, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50394Parent of: Hut circle 30, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3535Parent of: Hut circle 31, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3536Parent of: Hut circle 32, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50378Parent of: Hut circle 33, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50379Parent of: Hut circle 34, Watern Oke (Monument)
MDV3537Parent of: Hut circle 35, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3538Parent of: Hut circle 36, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3539Parent of: Hut circle 38, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3540Parent of: Hut circle 39, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3317Parent of: Hut circle 4, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50723Parent of: Hut circle 40 (pit), Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3541Parent of: Hut circle 41, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3542Parent of: Hut circle 43a, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50382Parent of: Hut circle 44, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3543Parent of: Hut circle 45, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3544Parent of: Hut circle 46, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50380Parent of: Hut circle 46b, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3545Parent of: Hut circle 47, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50384Parent of: Hut circle 48, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3546Parent of: Hut circle 49, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3318Parent of: Hut circle 4a, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3319Parent of: Hut circle 5, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3547Parent of: Hut circle 50, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3548Parent of: Hut circle 52, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50386Parent of: Hut circle 53, Watern Oke in settlement (Monument)
MDV3549Parent of: Hut circle 54, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50387Parent of: Hut circle 55, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50388Parent of: Hut circle 56, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3550Parent of: Hut circle 57, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3551Parent of: Hut circle 58, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3320Parent of: Hut circle 6, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3552Parent of: Hut circle 61, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50168Parent of: Hut circle 62, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3553Parent of: Hut circle 63, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50390Parent of: Hut circle 64, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3554Parent of: Hut circle 65, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3555Parent of: Hut circle 66, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50391Parent of: Hut circle 67, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3556Parent of: Hut circle 68, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50395Parent of: Hut circle 69, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3321Parent of: Hut circle 7, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3557Parent of: Hut circle 70, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50392Parent of: Hut circle 71, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3558Parent of: Hut circle 72, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50393Parent of: Hut circle 73, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50726Parent of: Hut circle 74, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3560Parent of: Hut circle 79, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3322Parent of: Hut circle 8, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50714Parent of: Hut circle 81, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3562Parent of: Hut circle 82, south of the Watern Oke settlements (Monument)
MDV50154Parent of: Hut circle, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50718Parent of: Hut circle, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50396Parent of: Hut circles 59 and 60, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3559Parent of: Hut circles 75 and 76, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV3323Parent of: Hut circles 9 and 10, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50720Parent of: Huts 42 and 43, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV50161Parent of: Medieval building at Watern Oke (Building)
MDV3561Parent of: Tinner's hut built over hut circle 80, Watern Oke settlement (Monument)
MDV19434Related to: Hut circle south of Watern Oke (Monument)
MDV3260Related to: Hut settlement on Standon Down (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV5854 - COOKING STONE (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC?)
  • FDV5853 - SHERD (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC?)

Associated Events

  • EDV8439 - Excavation of settlement at Wattern Oke
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project
  • EDV8679 - Okehampton Range: Management Survey
  • EDV8291 - Okehampton Range: Monument Baseline Condition Survey
  • EDV8695 - Survey of Okehampton North Dartmoor Military Range

Date Last Edited:Nov 9 2021 12:29PM