MSO10883 - Late prehistoric hut circle at Ruckham Combe (Monument)


A hut circle is visible on aerial photographs as a low stony bank 0.3 metres high. It has also been referred to as a ring cairn.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

The westernmost of two hut circles consisting of stony banks 0.3 metres high, with an entrance gap to the south. [1] This feature measures 8 paces in diameter. [2] This and the similar feature (MSO12369) are marked as 'Ring Cairns' on the 1980 Ordnance Survey mapping. [3] This and MSO12369 were reinterpreted as not hut circles but two ring cairns situated on level ground above a steep valley slope. They comprise circular banks of stone and soil 8 to 9 metres in overall diameter, 0.3 to 0.4 metres high and both have a slight gap on the south side. The interiors are at natural ground level. [4] The east hut circle was previously included in this record (Somerset HER) but is now MSO12369. [5] During field observation in 1995 this was considered to be almost certainly a hut circle. It measures 7.6 metres east to west and 8.2 metres north to south overall. The turf covered wall is 1.2 to 1.7 metres wide and reaches a maximum height of 0.5 metres in the northeast. The interior slopes slightly but this could be due to subsequent soil creep. There are possible entrances to the northwest and the south where the wall is lower. Hut circles are farily rare on Exmoor; however, several are evident on the lower slopes only 500 metres to the south of this site. Originally classified as hut circles [1] and then as ring cairns [2], the possibility that this and MSO12369 may be ring cairns cannot be excluded; however, on balance, they are most probably hut circles. [6] This feature was confirmed as a hut circle duirng field investigation. [7-8] This hut circle is visible on infra-red photography taken for Exmoor National Park Authority in 1983. This is similar in size and form to MSO12369, and also to the hut circles seen on Holdstone Down and Martinhoe Common to the north. [9] This site was surveyed using gradiometer and earth resistance techniques in 2012. Analysis of the resulting data suggested that a potential hut circle was visible in the earth resistance data, although this was not seen in the gradiometer or topographic data. The nearby hut circle MSO12369 was visible in the data. In addition, other anomalies were noted in the nearby area which may be archaeological in nature, but this cannot be verified. [10,11] The feature is depicted and labelled as a hut circle on 2021 MasterMap data. [12]

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1965. SS74SW. 7.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. 1982. Site visit, H Eardley-Wilmot, to Somerset County Council 27 September 1982.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1980. 1:10000 Map, 1980. 1:10000. SS74SW.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1975. SS74SW. 7.
  • <5> Unassigned: Webster, CJ. Dec 1997. Chris Webster, Somerset HER, December 1997.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 4 May 1995.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 3 August 1999.
  • <8> Technical drawing: CARPENTER. Thorn Hill Hut Circle/pencil.
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. Exmoor National Park Authority IRFC 5804-05 (1983).
  • <10> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182.
  • <11> Report: Carey, C. and Ventre, H.. 2012. Ruckham Coombe (Mire 2), Exmoor: Combined earth resistance and gradiometer survey. 16.
  • <12>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #34520 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 7279 4312 (24m by 25m)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO95
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO6839
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW7
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35341
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33022

Record last edited

Feb 3 2021 11:08AM


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