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HER Number:MDV5283
Name:Hut 7 in settlement on Dean Moor


Hut 7 is one of the most interesting, providing good evidence that tin was being smelted on the moor in the middle bronze age, due to the recovery of a tiny bead of tin slag amongst the charcoal near the hearth. Excavation of an 'annex' outside revealed an underground storage chamber laboriously dug into solid granite, implying year-round occupation at this site, rather than just seasonal use as a summer shelter.


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

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NE/73/8

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Fox, A., 1957, Excavations on Dean Moor in the Avon Valley, 1954-1956, pg. 49-52 fig.15-16 pl. Vi (Article in Serial). SDV167114.

Hut 7. Had collapsed, but occupation layers were undisturbed beneath the debris. Near east entrance of the pound. On the lower side, a massive boulder has been set transversely to strengthen the construction, and another over 1.8 metres long incorporated into the face.
Entrance from south-west, by a narrow cobbled and stepped approach flanked by an upright slab. Screened by two similar slabs, now prostrate, enclosing with the wall of Hut 8 a working space or yard. Floor had large patches of paving, covered by 76-102 millimetres of occupation soil, deepest on lower side, where it contained much charcoal.
Hearth towards back of hut, in line with the entrance. It was made on a bedded slab and edged by small upright stones as a fender. A hazelnut shell and blob of tin slag found amongst the charcoal spread around the hearth. A pottery rim decorated with one line of fine plaited cord impressions was found in a patch of charcoal south-east of the hearth. Ball of clay in a crevice in centre of hut, indicated that pottery had been made there. Beside it was a cavity floored with a slab, containing five small water-worn stones; may have been a puddling basin. Seven water-worn stones and two pieces of flint found in the hearth area, and a grooved whetstone and scrap of red ochre near the door.
Hut roof supported on a post-ring of seven posts, symmetrically arranged around a centre post. Large storage pit annexed to west side of the hut (pl. Vib). It held a foot of black greasy soil. Pit enclosed by a circular wall of small stones. Probably a cellar for storing perishables. Would have been lightly roofed over with small timber, thatch or sods, making a separate low half-dome below the main hut roof.

Pearce, S. M., 1983, The Bronze Age Metalwork of South Western Britain, 440 (Monograph). SDV341822.

Blob of tin from floor of Hut 7. Found during excavation of occupation site where tin working had been carried on.

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

Hut 7 which measures 6.5 – 6.8 metres in diameter, turned out to be the most interesting. The main building, now just above the waterline, provides the best evidence so far that tin was being smelted on the moor, presumably in the production of bronze. A tiny bead of tin slag was found amongst the charcoal near the hearth apparently brought into the hut from the smelting process somewhere close by.
The excavation of the ‘annex’, a familiar enough structure outside many a Dartmoor hut, was also of extraordinary interest. It turned out to be an underground storage chamber, 2.5 metres across, and about a metre deep, the lower half laboriously hammered out of solid granite. This structure implies year-round occupation of the site, rather than merely seasonal use as a summer shelter.

Quinnell, H., 2012, Trevisker Pottery: some recent Studies, 146-71 (Article in Monograph). SDV360640.

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

Depicted on the modern mapping.

Quinnell, H., 2017, Dartmoor and Prehistoric to Early Medieval Tinworking, Dartmoor and Prehistoric to Early Medieval Tinworking, 21 (Article in Monograph). SDV360639.

Hut 7 at the enclosed Dean Moor settlement revealed secure data for Middle Bronze Age tinworking on the moor, producing a 3.2 millimetre globule of smelted tin within a burnt spread around a hearth. Ceramics from this site have now been confidently dated to the period 14th-12th century BC in light of current knowledge of Trevisker ceramics and their development (citing Quinnell, 2011).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV167114Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1957. Excavations on Dean Moor in the Avon Valley, 1954-1956. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 89. Unknown. pg. 49-52 fig.15-16 pl. Vi.
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. pg. 147-150, Map 57.16.
SDV341822Monograph: Pearce, S. M.. 1983. The Bronze Age Metalwork of South Western Britain. British Archaeological Reports. 120. Photocopy. 440.
SDV357601Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2015. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #94448 ]
SDV360639Article in Monograph: Quinnell, H.. 2017. Dartmoor and Prehistoric to Early Medieval Tinworking. The Tinworking Landscape of Dartmoor in a European Context. Paperback Volume. Dartmoor and Prehistoric to Early Medieval Tinworking, 21.
SDV360640Article in Monograph: Quinnell, H.. 2012. Trevisker Pottery: some recent Studies. Reflections on the Past. Essays in honour of Frances Lynch. Unknown. 146-71.

Associated Monuments

MDV14799Part of: Hut circle settlement on Dean Moor (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV5815 - BEAD (Middle Bronze Age - 1500 BC to 1001 BC)
  • FDV3213 - POT (Middle Bronze Age - 1400 BC to 1100 BC)

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Dec 18 2017 10:45AM