Hut circle

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A hut circle in Torr Righ, Arran, Scotland

A hut circle is the archaeological term given to a circular or oval depression in the ground with evidence of a low stone wall around it that used to be the foundation of a round house. The superstructure of such a house would have been made of timber and thatch. They are numerous in parts of upland Britain and most date to around the 2nd century BC.[1]

Hut circles are usually around 5 to 25 feet in internal diameter, with the rocks themselves being 2-3 wide and around 3 feet high. Hut circles were also almost certainly covered by conical rounded roofs and supported by posts that were internal and sometimes external. [2]

Hut circles are particularly numerous on Dartmoor where there are an estimated 5,000, one of the best known sites being Grimspound.[3]

Hut circles were also present in Northern Scotland. It is unsure if there is a connection between hut circles in Northern Scotland and hut circles in England. These hut circles were usually in pairs, and surrounded by groups of tumuli of sepulchral origin. These hut circles were around 40 feet in diameter and 20-30 yards apart.[4]


  1. ^ Darvill, Timothy (2008). Oxford Concise Dictionary of Archaeology, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, p. 202. ISBN 978-0-19-953404-3.
  2. ^ W. J. Hemp and C. A. Gresham (1944). Hut-circles in North-west Wales. Antiquity, 18, pp 183-196. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00018627.
  3. ^ The Roundhouses of Dartmoor at Accessed on 3 Sep 2013
  4. ^ Roberts, G. (1865). Some further notes upon pre-historic hut-circles. Journal of the Anthropological Society of London, 3, lx-lxv