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HER Number:MDV5742
Name:Prehistoric settlement east of Zeal gully, Dean Prior

Summary

Bronze Age hut circle settlement consisting of three adjacent enclosures containing eight huts, with a further four huts to the south west. This site is on the local list of Nationally Important Dartmoor sites.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 681 648
Map Sheet:SX66SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDean Prior
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishDEAN PRIOR

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Bronze Age settlement consisting of three linked enclosures with twelve hut circles south of the Avon Dam Reservoir, parts of the site have been destroyed by quarrying

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 441740
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66SE/48
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

National Monuments Record, NMRSX6864 (Aerial Photograph). SDV178127.

Royal Air Force, 1946, CPE/UK 1890, 4270 (Aerial Photograph). SDV140289.

Royal Air Force, 1948, RAF/CPE/UK/2494, 3114/3115 (Aerial Photograph). SDV147533.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950 - 1977, SX66SE1, SX66SE1 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV178128.

Hut circles and enclosures on Gripper's Hill, Avon Valley. Four enclosures and eleven hut circles.
Enclosure 1; remains of wall only, constructed of large stones, very fragmentary, no accurate measurements were possible.
Enclosure 2; consists of a wall of large stones and measures 40.0 meters by 43.0 meters, there was no obvious entrance. Contains hut circles C, D, E and two others.
Enclosure 3; consists of the remains of a wall constructed of large stones measuring 57.0 meters by 40.0 meters, also using living rock at southern corner. This enclosure is in poor condition.
Enclosure 4; very fragmentary wall of turf-covered stones in poor condition. This enclosure measures 59.0 meters by 55.0 meters.
Hut A; (diameter 6.5 meters, wall height 0.3 meters) gorse covered stones, entrance to south-east. Located outside the enclosures.
Hut B; (diameter 7.5 meters) gorse covered stones, entrance to south-east. Within enclosure 1.
Hut C; (diameter 5.5 meters) walls of large stones with entrance to east, poor condition. Within enclosure 2.
Hut D; (diameter 3.0 meters) remains only, probable entrance to east. Within enclosure 2.
Hut E; (length 7.0 meters, width 5.5 meters) semi-circular abutting onto enclosure wall, in poor condition. Within enclosure 2.
Hut F; (diameter 8.0 meters) wall composed of large stone, partly turf covered. No visible entrance; in poor condition; within enclosure 3.
Huts G,H,I; (diameter 5.5 meters) remains only, walls of turf covered stones. Within enclosure 4. 4/5/1950

A settlement of three contiguous enclosures containing eight huts, with a further four huts to the south-west. Enclosure 1 and two huts have been destroyed by quarrying. All the huts are in ruinous condition. 30/6/1977 Other details: Sketch plan included.

Fox, A., 1955, Huts and Enclosures on Gripper's Hill, in the Avon Valley, Dartmoor, 55-62 (Article in Serial). SDV178125.

Full report on the excavation undertaken here during the construction of the Avon dam. There are the remains of four enclosures, containing ten or more huts, three or four outlying huts in poor condition. Most of the enclosure walls are so ruined they appear only as an untidy spread of loose stones.
Enclosure 1; is incomplete, and consists of a segment of a boundary wall. There is one hut at its western end.
Enclosure 2; known as Gripper's Pound. The walls, though ruined, have been substantially built, almost rectangular. The interior is comparatively level and the centre fairly clear of stones. The remains of habitations are built up against the pound walls. Hut 3 on the west wall is substantially built with a small annexe on its northern side. Remains of three or four pens and possibly a round hut on the opposite side of the pound.
Enclosure 3; a rectangle, the west wall includes natural boulders and outcrop.
Enclosure 4; consists of two or three lines of stones. Bronze Age. Other details: Figures 1-3.

Fox, A., 1961, Twenty-Fifth Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon, 66,67 (Article in Serial). SDV341693.

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

The complete extent of enclosures identified by the Ordnance Survey are not visible on 1946 Royal Air Force aerial photograph. The two northern elements and a large part of the southern element are clear containing five hut circles, two attached to the internal wall. One hut circle is visible outside enclosure.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East, 145-7, Map 57, Figure 57.15 (Monograph). SDV337765.

'Gripper's Hill' settlement was planned in 1954 before construction of the Avon Dam. It consists of six enclosures and numerous hut circles.
Enclosure 'A' was never very substantial and was incomplete even before work started on the Avon Dam. It has one hut circle on the north-west side.
Enclosure 'B' was solidly built with walls 2.5 metres wide and the inner face of the east side retaining both vertical and horizontal slabs. The central area has been cleared and huts and pens constructed around the edge. The thin walled ring at '4' of 6.0 metres was probably a pen but '3' and '17' appear to be normal huts.
Enclosure 'C' is also cleared and subdivided by a cross wall. It contains the most important building in the settlement Hut Circle '5' of 6.5 metres diameter sited on a natural platform.
Encosure 'D' and what appears to be a western extension contains the majority of huts, most of them less than 4 metres in diameter. This part of the perimeter wall is confused and perhaps was never clearly defined.
Enclosure 'E' which interrupts the south end of Enclosure 'D' is small but has lost a complete section of wall to the east.
Enclosure 'F' taking in the lower slopes to the east of Enclosures 'B' and 'C' probably contains a hut '16' attached to the east wall which has been reduced to a curved line of slabs.

Gerrard, S., 2004, List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor (Un-published). SDV345444.

This site was considered for designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument during the Monument Protection Programme. The programme ended before the entire list of sites was successfully scheduled so this is included on a local list of Nationally Important Sites.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

'Settlement' shown on modern mapping.

Richards, A. F., 2010, Settlement east of Zeal gully (Personal Comment). SDV345955.

This detail is not associated with other linked sources on this record. Visited at some point during 1954 by Hurrell(?).
“Excavated three isolated Bronze Age huts on the east side of the river near Gripper's Pound. No finds were made except charcoal, a sharpening stone, and a hammer stone. Hut diameters; 3.6 meters, 4.6 meters, 7.6 meters.”

National Monuments Record, 2020, Pastscape, 441740, SX66SE1 (Website). SDV363416.

Field Investigation on 30 th June 1977. On the south slopes of Gripper's Hill at 310-325 metres OD is a settlement which consists of three contiguous enclosures containing eight huts, with a further four huts to the south-west.
Enclosure I on the plan with hut circles Nos 1 and 2 have been entirely destroyed by quarrying. The walls of the primary Enclosures II and III appear thicker than those of Enclosure IV - up to 2.0 metres average; No II has several yards adjacent to the interior wall and only two huts; No III has only one hut and no yards; No IV has four internal huts, another contiguous with the inner face of the enclosure and one contiguous with the outer face; there are no yards. There is no evidence of clearance in Enclosures III and IV, but some may have been attempted in No II. All the huts are in a very ruinous state and are probably Type 1. The internal diameters range from 3.0 metres to 6.0 metres, with an average of 4.0 metres; the walls are on average 1.0 metre thick. Only hut No 3 has a visible entrance, on the east.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV140289Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. CPE/UK 1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4270.
SDV147533Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1948. RAF/CPE/UK/2494. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3114/3115.
SDV178125Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1955. Huts and Enclosures on Gripper's Hill, in the Avon Valley, Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 87. A5 Hardback. 55-62.
SDV178127Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. NMRSX6864. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph.
SDV178128Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950 - 1977. SX66SE1. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index. SX66SE1.
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.
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. 145-7, Map 57, Figure 57.15.
SDV341693Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1961. Twenty-Fifth Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 93. A5 Hardback. 66,67.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #95806 ]
SDV345444Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 2004. List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor. Digital.
SDV345955Personal Comment: Richards, A. F.. 2010. Settlement east of Zeal gully. Digital.
SDV363416Website: National Monuments Record. 2020. Pastscape. https://www.pastscape.org.uk/. Website. 441740, SX66SE1.

Associated Monuments

MDV129321Parent of: Enclosure 'B' within prehistoric settlement east of Zeal gully, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129322Parent of: Enclosure 'C' within prehistoric settlement east of Zeal gully, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129323Parent of: Enclosure 'D' within prehistoric settlement east of Zeal gully, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV13202Related to: Cairn on Smallbrook Plains south-east of Avon Reservoir, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129345Related to: Enclosure to the north of prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129344Related to: Enclosure to the north-east of prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV5768Related to: Granite quarry south of the Avon Dam (Monument)
MDV129332Related to: Hut circle on east side of northern enclosure at prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129335Related to: Hut circle on north side of central enclosure at hut prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129333Related to: Hut circle on north side of central enclosure at prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129340Related to: Hut circle on the south side of enclosure at prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129331Related to: Hut circle on west side of northern enclosure at prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129341Related to: Hut circle to the west of enclosure at prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129342Related to: Hut circle to the west of enclosure at prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129343Related to: Hut circle to the west of enclosure at prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV25743Related to: Hut circle west of enclosed hut settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129334Related to: Hut circle within southern enclosure at prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129337Related to: Hut circle within the southern enclosure at prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129338Related to: Hut circle within the southern enclosure at prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV129339Related to: Hut circle within the southern enclosure at prehistoric settlement, Dean Prior (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Feb 24 2021 1:08PM