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HER Number:MDV52774
Name:Bronze Age Settlement to north of Bellever Tor

Summary

Dispersed hut circle settlement with associated field system. The core of the settlement comprises nine hut circles with an outlier to the south and a further three within an enclosure to the west.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 648 767
Map Sheet:SX67NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • MPP Archaeological Item Dataset: 144271
  • National Monuments Record: SX67NW39
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NW/33
  • Old SAM County Ref: 964 (PART)
  • Old SAM Ref: 28689
  • Pastscape: 442620

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., 144271 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

Site visit 1997. Prehistoric stone hut circle settlement north of Bellever Tor.


Sainsbury, I. S., 1992, Bellever (Report - Survey). SDV268526.

Site visit 17th September 1992. Prehistoric settlement and field system centred at above NGR. Consists of 13 hut circles; some within small enclosures, some attached to or associated with a series of enclosures. Several fields indicated by fragmentary lengths of walls or lynchets. Covers an area of about 36 hectares between Bellever Tor and Lakehead Hill. The surviving pattern is of three isolated groups of huts contained within, or part of, small, roughly oval enclosures or compounds. Several isolated huts to the south and west are connected to, or enclosed by, walls to form larger enclosures. Attached to three of the hut compounds are a series of rectangular fields.


English Heritage, 2014, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV355683.

{Part of] a prehistoric settlement with enclosures, an irregular aggregate field system and cairn north of Bellever Tor.
Reasons for designation
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.
Despite partial afforestation, the prehistoric settlement with enclosures, an irregular aggregate field system and cairn north of Bellever Tor survive well and together with other nearby broadly contemporary settlement sites and ceremonial monuments provide an important insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation and exploitation in the very centre of Dartmoor. Relatively deep peat and soil deposits cover this monument and as well as containing environmental information they have helped to protect the archaeology from modern activities.
Details
The monument, which falls into five areas of protection, includes an agglomerated enclosure and irregular aggregate field system containing stone hut circles and a round cairn lying on a ridge between Bellever Tor and Lakehead Hill. The monument overlooks the valleys of the Cherry Brook and East Dart River. The irregular aggregate field system survives as a block of 17 fields covering at least 4ha. The field walls are composed of rubble banks standing up to 2m wide and 0.7m high. Within the fields there are nine visible stone hut circles. To the east of the field system lies a further stone hut circle, whilst to the west there are two enclosures. The northern enclosure is agglomerated and measures overall at least 340m north to south by 270m east to west. One stone hut circle lies within this enclosure and another two are attached to the enclosure walling. The southern enclosure, which measures 500m north to south by 300m east to west, is probably oval in shape, although the eastern side is no longer visible. West of these enclosures lies a further agglomerated enclosure. This survives as at least ten irregular shaped areas each defined by boulder and rubble walling. Four stone hut circles survive within the enclosure and three of these are butted by enclosure walling. Sitting next to the north eastern side of the enclosure is a small cairn measuring 3.7m in diameter and standing up tp 0.5m high. The stone hut circles within the settlement all survive as banks surrounding circular or oval internal areas which varies from 14.5 sq m to 50.2 sq m with the average being 27.6 sq m. The height of the surrounding walls vary between 0.25m and 0.9m, with the average being 0.56m. The orthostatic and rubble bank walling building traditions are all represented. Ten of the huts have visible doorways and seven are attached to lengths of walling. The surface of the forest road leading through the monument, together with modern drainage channels and lengths of post and wire fencing are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.


National Monument Record, 2014, Pastscape, 442620 (Website). SDV355682.

A Bronze Age irregular aggregate field system lying on a ridge between Bellever Tor and Lakehead Hill. The field walls are composed of rubble banks standing up to 2 metres wide and 0.7 metres high. Within the fields are nine visible stone hut circles. To the east of the field system lies a further stone hut circle. Scheduled. NMR No. SX67NW39. Record last updated: N/A.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV268526Report - Survey: Sainsbury, I. S.. 1992. Bellever. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field Investigation. Unknown.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. 144271.
SDV355682Website: National Monument Record. 2014. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website. 442620.
SDV355683National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2014. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Website. [Mapped feature: #94435 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV50114Parent of: Enclosure with hut circles 600 meters north-east of Bellever Tor (Monument)
MDV5916Parent of: FIELD SYSTEM in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV5924Parent of: Hut circle 410 metres north-east of Bellever Tor (Monument)
MDV5917Parent of: Hut circle 430 metres north-east of Bellever Tor (Monument)
MDV108181Parent of: Hut Circle 450 metres north-east of Bellever Tor (Monument)
MDV5918Parent of: Hut circle 475 metres north-east of Bellever Tor (Monument)
MDV5919Parent of: Hut circle 480 metres north-east of Bellever Tor (Monument)
MDV5999Parent of: Hut Circle 570 metres north-east of Bellever Tor (Monument)
MDV5880Parent of: Hut circle 580 metres north-east of Bellever Tor (Monument)
MDV5920Parent of: Hut circle 590 metres north-east of Bellever Tor, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV50115Parent of: Hut circle 630 metres north-east of Bellever Tor (Monument)
MDV50116Parent of: Hut circle 640 metres north-east of Bellever Tor (Monument)
MDV115470Parent of: Yard between two Hut Circles on Bellever Tor, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV5914Related to: Enclosure and hut circles north of Bellever Tor (Monument)
MDV5915Related to: Field system 350 metres north-east of Bellever Tor (Monument)
MDV50111Related to: HUT CIRCLE in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV50112Related to: HUT CIRCLE in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV50113Related to: HUT CIRCLE in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7388 - Archaeological condition survey in Bellever Woods
  • EDV7000 - Excavation of Yard between two hut circles at Bellever Tor (Ref: ACD308/1/0)
  • EDV7406 - Archaeological condition survey in Bellever Woods
  • EDV7431 - Woodland Survey (1989-90) at Bellever, Soussons and other woodland parcels

Date Last Edited:Jul 1 2016 1:21PM