MSO6736 - Prehistoric hut circle on Almsworthy Common (Monument)

Summary

A well-preserved prehistoric hut circle on Almsworthy Common. It is unusual on Exmoor because of its size, massive construction, and unusually elevated position.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

One of the best preserved hut circles recorded on Exmoor to date lies beside the track on Almsworthy Common approximately 60 metres west of the enclosure at SS 8410 4180 (MMO183). The internal diameter is 10 metres, the external diameter is 14 metres and the site is levelled into the hill slope with the walls between 0.30 and 0.40 metres high. There is a well defined entrance on the south side. Several low, stone mounds are in the area. [1] A circular wall bank with a southerly gap situated on a slight spur has been classified as a large Bronze Age house, but its position is exposed and has visibility to the east and west. It may be a summer tribal gathering place, or a small henge. It may otherwise be related to droving as it is position by a green road from the Forest. [2] Centred at SS 8404 4177 is a prehistoric hut circle. It is 15.3 metres in overall diameter (11 metres bank centre to bank centre) and has been massively terraced, by 0.9 metres, into the hillslope on its upper (northeastern) side. It is defined by a bank 4.1 metres wide, within which the internal area forms a level platform 7 metres in diameter.The southwestern, lower, side of the hut circle has been destroyed by a well used vehicle track, and the entrance was presumably in this area of destruction. The hut circle is unusual on Exmoor, because of its size, massive construction, and unusually elevated position (442 metres above Ordnance Datum). Surveyed at 1:2500 scale. [3] The hut circle has been transcribed from aerial photographs as part of the Exmoor National Mapping Programme survey. The accurate rectification of the best available aerial photographs places the hut circle at circa SS 8395 4182, approximately 70 metres to the west of the enclosure (MSO6735). The south facing entrance to the hut circle is clearly visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s and is still apparent in 1952, despite the significant damage summarised above. It may be associated with two similarly sized hut circles interpreted as forming an unenclosed settlement associated with a field system on Wellshead Allotment, approximately 400 metres to the southwest. [4-6] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Article in serial: Burrow, I., Minnitt, S. + Murless, B.. 1980. Somerset Archaeology 1979. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 124. P.119.
  • <2> Monograph: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. 1983. Ancient Exmoor: A Study of the Archaeology and Prehistory of Exmoor. The Exmoor Press. Microstudy C2. p57.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 16 November 1995.
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 4197-8 (13 May 1946).
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 540/931 (F20) 3097-3098 (8 November 1952).
  • <6>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184. [Mapped feature: #47362 ]
  • <7> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36310, Extant 12 July 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8395 4182 (17m by 16m)
Map sheet SS84SW
Civil Parish EXFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO184
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11284
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW51
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36310
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33626

Record last edited

Jul 12 2021 4:31PM

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