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HER Number:MDV8724
Name:West Coombe Settlement, Shapley Common

Summary

Settlement including a field system, enclosures and hut circles. Survey and excavation in the mid-1980s revealed a phase of intensive settlement and timber hut construction datable to the later Iron Age.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 700 817
Map Sheet:SX78SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishNorth Bovey
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTH BOVEY

Protected Status

  • SHINE: West Coombe Prehistoric settlement including a field system, enclosures and hut circles, and medieval field system with ridge and furrow on Hookney Down to south-east

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 445635
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX78SW/9
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX78SW9
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Constructed, Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2200 BC to 42 AD (Between))

Full description

Whiteley, R., 1855, Untitled Source (Worksheet). SDV346551.

An "ancient village of hut circles" noted on the east slope of Shapley Tor. Other details: In Manaton Parish File.


Pickard, R., 1952, A Celtic Site on Coombe Down, 159-62 (Article in Serial). SDV346473.

Combe Down, North Bovey, 1500 metres north-north-east from Grimspound and 4000 metres south-west from North Bovey. The eastern group is bounded by two ditches and two low banks. It is nearly square. The largest of the 6 fields is 73 metres by 80 metres, the smallest 22 metres by 41 metres, well within the accepted limits for Celtic fields. The south-west group of enclosures is very irregular. Many of the walls have been destroyed. There are three groups of huts, all have a smaller - surrounded by a larger outer - enclosure. The ditches are an unusual feature. The huts are similar to those at Foales Arrishes, near Hemsworthy Gate.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953, SX78SW9 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV346549.

The site consists of two groups, a series of nearly rectangular fields to the east, and a large group of huts, enclosures and walls to the southwest. Other details: Plan.


Fox, A., 1954, Celtic Fields and Farms on Dartmoor in Light of Recent Excavations at Kestor, 87 (Article in Serial). SDV231175.


National Monuments Record, 1977, SX7081, 1-2 (Aerial Photograph). SDV346552.


Gibson, A., 1984, Survey and Excavation on Shapley Common, Dartmoor, 1984 (Report - Excavation). SDV346474.

The site lies within the Shapley Common parallel reave system and the Shapley terminal reave crosses the southern portion of the 'newtake'. The site lies on an east-facing slope and contains visible evidence for human activity in both the historic and Prehistoric periods. The reave system is confused by later Prehistoric field systems, corn walls and tinner's gullies. A large pound with a central circular stone-built structure is roughly centrally placed in the 'newtake'. In addition to the enclosed fields, clearance cairns have also been located suggesting a mixed econony. Twelve stone-built structures have been identified with orthostatic walls and in 1983 two platform sites of the early Bronze Age were identified. One platform, at circa SX70128180 was excavated in 1984, and other parts of the field system were sectioned, revealing 'a complex stratigraphy not fully understood'. Other details: Plan.


Gibson, A., 1984, Survey of a Platform Settlement at Gold Park, Shapley Common, Dartmoor: Easter 1984 (Report - Survey). SDV363151.

The site lies within the Shapley Common parallel reave system and the Shapley terminal reave crosses the southern portion of the 'newtake'. The site lies on an east-facing slope and contains visible evidence for human activity in both the historic and Prehistoric periods. The reave system is confused by later Prehistoric field systems, corn walls and tinner's gullies. A large pound with a central circular stone-built structure is roughly centrally placed in the 'newtake'. In addition to the enclosed fields, clearance cairns have also been located suggesting a mixed econony. Twelve stone-built structures have been identified with orthostatic walls and in 1983 two platform sites of the early Bronze Age were identified. One platform, at circa SX70128180 was excavated in 1984, and other parts of the field system were sectioned, revealing 'a complex stratigraphy not fully understood'. Other details: Plan.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, SX78SW (Cartographic). SDV346261.

Nine hut circles are visible on aerial photographs in fields between SX70038177 and SX70198174. Four hut circles are attached to reaves or to other hut circles, and one of these is incorporated into a sub-circular enclosure wall.


Griffith, F. M., 1988, DAP/JS, 1-3 (Aerial Photograph). SDV346553.


Griffith, F. M., 1989, DAP/LT, 14-15 (Aerial Photograph). SDV346554.


Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East, 159-160 (Monograph). SDV299725.

West Coombe Prehistoric settlement developed around the spring and above the west bank of the stream. Numerous clearance heaps of small stones litter the hillside within the angular fields with the later walls overlying different sections of Prehistoric reaves. Slight traces of ridge and furrow and sinuous ditched banks are evidence of later Medieval farming. An embanked passageway 200 metres long by 6 metres wide separates the fields on either side and eight huts have been identified within the vicinity of this track. Further fields and hut circles have been identified to the north-east. Other details: Map 23, Site 1.


Gibson, A., 1992, The Excavation of an Iron Age Settlement at Gold Park, Dartmoor, 32 (Article in Serial). SDV346556.

This settlement appeared similar to those 'platform settlements' noted in Northumberland dated to the Bronze Age. The author wanted to test this theory; if this settlement could also be dated to that period, it is likely that it was contemporary with the reave system on Dartmoor. Survey of the settlement in 1984 and subsequent activity including limited excavation in 1984 and 1986 revealed a phase of intensive settlement and timber hut construction datable by radiocarbon and ceramic associations to the later Iron Age.


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

West Coombe Prehistoric settlement was considered for designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 2004.


Gerrard, S., 2006, Dartmoor Nationally Important Sites (Cartographic). SDV345607.

Outline of site shown.


National Monuments Record, 2011, 445635 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV346555.

Seven Bronze/Iron Age huts and field system, remade possibly in Medieval period, on Coombe Down.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV231175Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1954. Celtic Fields and Farms on Dartmoor in Light of Recent Excavations at Kestor. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 20. Unknown. 87.
SDV299725Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East. One. Paperback Volume. 159-160.
SDV345444Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 2004. List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor. Digital.
SDV345607Cartographic: Gerrard, S.. 2006. Dartmoor Nationally Important Sites. English Heritage. Digital.
SDV346261Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. SX78SW. Air Photographs Unit. Map (Paper).
SDV346473Article in Serial: Pickard, R.. 1952. A Celtic Site on Coombe Down. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 84. A5 Hardback. 159-62.
SDV346474Report - Excavation: Gibson, A.. 1984. Survey and Excavation on Shapley Common, Dartmoor, 1984. University of Leicester. A4 Stapled + Digital. [Mapped feature: #119182 ]
SDV346549Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953. SX78SW9. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV346551Worksheet: Whiteley, R.. 1855. Plan.
SDV346552Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1977. SX7081. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1-2.
SDV346553Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. DAP/JS. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1-3.
SDV346554Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1989. DAP/LT. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 14-15.
SDV346555National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2011. 445635. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV346556Article in Serial: Gibson, A.. 1992. The Excavation of an Iron Age Settlement at Gold Park, Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 50. Paperback Volume. 32.
SDV363151Report - Survey: Gibson, A.. 1984. Survey of a Platform Settlement at Gold Park, Shapley Common, Dartmoor: Easter 1984. Individual. A4 Comb Bound + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV55154Parent of: Bank and Ditch at West Coombe Settlement (Monument)
MDV55155Parent of: Cairnfield at West Coombe Settlement (Monument)
MDV8739Parent of: Enclosure with central hut in settlement on Shapley Common (Monument)
MDV55153Parent of: Hut Circle in West Coombe settlement (Monument)
MDV8730Parent of: Hut Circle in West Coombe Settlement (Monument)
MDV55156Parent of: Hut Circles at West Coombe Settlement (Monument)
MDV26662Parent of: Hut south-east of main settlement on Shapley Common (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8134 - Survey of settlement on Shapley Common
  • EDV8135 - Excavation of a platform house on Shapley Common
  • EDV8136 - Excavation of a cairnfield on Shapley Common

Date Last Edited:Aug 2 2019 3:18PM