MSO7907 - Prehistoric settlement on Porlock Allotment (Monument)


A scattered group of four stone-banked prehistoric hut circles, with some orthostatic walling, on a ledge above the east side of Weir Water.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

There is a hut circle situated on the east side of Weir Water, on a large river terrace, at SS 838 445. Made of large stones several of which are still standing indicating a circular feature 12 metres diameter. There is a possible entrance on the south side by a large stone set at right angles to the line of the low circular bank. There are banks 0.6metres high on the east side but lower and less defined on west. There is a considerable scatter of large stones in interior and surrounding area. [1] SS 838 445. A scattered group of three or four stone banked hut circles lie on a large natural ledge above the east side of Weir Water. The circle on the north side of the group is the most complete and comprises a circular bank 15 metres in diameter with six orthostats in position and a seventh transverse-portal orthostat in the well-defined entrance on the south side. The remaining hut circles are very fragmentary and are confused by being in an area of naturally outcropping rock. [2] There are other dubious building remains to the southeast at SS 8402 4423. Natural stones have been utilised in the construction of 4 or 5 rectangular, sub-rectangular and circular buildings. They have linear concentrations of stone around at least two edges. [3] A group of three hut circles centred at SS 8384 4448. They occupy a natural shelf on the east side of Weir Water.The best preserved of the three hut circles is the most northerly one. It is centred at SS 83844 44486, and comprises a circular enclosure 11.4 metres in diameter defined by stony banks averaging 2.8 metres wide and 0.3 metres high. The remains of double orthostatic walling are visible: six uprights are located on the inner side of the bank, two on the external side, and one, 0.6 metres high, is aligned transversely, forming the eastern side of the entrance, which lies on the south side of the hut circle. Some loose surface stone is visible and the interior is uneven; this may be the result of disturbance, or equally may represent a contemporaneous feature within the enclosure. Surveyed at 1:200 scale, August 1996. At SS 83902 44414 are the remains of a second hut circle. It comprises a sub circular platform, 12.2 metres in diameter, terraced into the hillside by 0.4 metres, and defined by a combination of scarps and surface boulders. It appears to represent a stance for a building. At SS 83890 44396 are the remains of a third hut circle. It comprises a sub circular platform, varying between 9.2 metres and 11 metres across, and defined by scarps to west and east. The eastern side, cut into the hillslope by 0.4 metres has several edge set slabs within it. These three form a group of prehistoric settlement sites exploiting the favourable topographic position afforded by a natural shelf on the east side of Weir Water. The most northerly of the group is highly unusual on Exmoor, in that it has traces of double orthostatic walling. Group surveyed with GPS, 12 August 1996. The most northerly one surveyed at 1:200 scale. [4] A fourth hut circle was discovered on 16th December 2003 during fieldwork. NGR SS 8389 4438 (navigational GPS). It lies immediately to the west of huts 2 and 3 in the group. It is sub-circular in shape, measuring 6.6 metres east to west, 5.7 metres north to south and comprises a roughly level platform terraced slightly into the hillside on its south side. It has a stony apron scarp 1.6 metres wide and 0.4 metres high on its north and east sides. Within the stony spread are occasional uprights forming the remains of double orthostatic walling (0.6 metres between internal and external uprights, the stones being up to 0.3 metres high). There is no obvoius entrance. Field visit by Jackie Duck (English Heritage MPP) and Rob Wilson-North (Exmoor National Park Archaeologist). [5] The collection of hut circles was surveyed during a measured field survey undertaken as part of the Dig Porlock project, run by the Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership Scheme. It was noted during the survey that the fourth hut circle (mentioned above) was not found. [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> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1981. Site visit report, 19 February 1981.
  • <2> Article in serial: Burrow, I., Minnitt, S. and Murless, B.. 1982. Somerset Archaeology 1981. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 126. 69-91. 65.
  • <3> Unassigned: McDonnell, R. 1984. [either pers. comm. or unpublished document].
  • <4> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 12 August 1996.
  • <5> Verbal communication: Various. Various. ENPA archaeologist field visit. R Wilson-North, 16 December 2003.
  • <6> Report: Riley, H.. 2013. Dig Porlock: Earthwork surveys on Porlock Allotment. 3, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13.
  • <7> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36314, Extant 19 June 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 839 443 (207m by 287m) (5 map features)
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10202
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11566
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW55
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36314
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33963
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 15650

Record last edited

Jun 21 2021 9:24PM


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