MSO12369 - 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

This feature is the eastern of two hut circles (the other being MSO10883) which consist of stony banks 0.3 metres high with entrance gaps to the south. [1] This feature was found to measure 10 paces in diameter. [2] This and MSO10883 are marked as "Ring Cairns" on 1980 Ordnance Survey mapping. [3] This and MSO10883 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, were 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] This feature was previously numbered as part of MSO10883 (Somerset HER) which now refers only to the west circle. [5] This is almost certainly a hut circle. It measures from 9.1 metres northwest-southeast to 10.6 metres southwest-northeast with a turf covered wall varying in width from 1.3 metres to 1.9 metres. It reaches a maximum external height of 0.5 metres in the northeast. Internally it is only about 0.2 metres high. There is a possible entrance to the south where the wall is lower. Hut circles are farily rare on Exmoor; however, MSO10883 is located close by and several more 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 they may be ring cairns cannot be excluded; however, on balance, this and MSO10883 are most probably hut circles. [6] This and MSO10883 were confirmed as hut circles. [7] Both this and MSO10883 are visible on Infra-red photography taken for Exmoor National Park Authority in 1983. They are similar in size and form to the hut circles seen on Holdstone Down and Martinhoe Common to the north. [8,9] This site was surveyed using gradiometer and earth resistance techniques in 2012. Analysis of the resulting data suggested that a hut circle was visible in the earth resistance, gradiometer and topographic data. The nearby hut circle MSO10883 was also visible in the earth resistance data. In addition, other anomalies were noted in the nearby area which may be archaeological in nature, but this cannot be verified. [10] The feature is depicted and labelled as a hut circle on 2021 MasterMap data. [11]

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <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> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. 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> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. Exmoor National Park Authority IRFC 5804-05 (1983).
  • <9> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182.
  • <10> Report: Carey, C. and Ventre, H.. 2012. Ruckham Coombe (Mire 2), Exmoor: Combined earth resistance and gradiometer survey. 16.
  • <11>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #34519 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 7282 4314 (19m by 18m)
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: 35558

Record last edited

Feb 3 2021 11:09AM


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