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Title: The archaelogy of the Upper Plym Valley
Author: Robertson, Jennifer G.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3526 7221
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1991
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The Upper Plym Valley, Dartmoor, containing an exceptional range and number of field monuments, has already attracted considerable attention from archaeologists and antiquarians. However, previous studies have tended to focus on a single aspect of land use. Thus, the total landscape survey, commissioned in 1982 by English Heritage, and executed by Edinburgh Archaeological Services under the direction of Mr. Roger' Mercer, of an area of 25km2, provided the first opportunity to assess the relationships between remains of different periods and between those of contemporary but different types of land use. The survey provided the database for this thesis and maps of the whole area and descriptions of nearly 2000 monuments have been compiled as Appendices. Analysis of the field evidence is divided into four parts. Discussion of the prehistoric monuments concentrates on`the variations in size and structure of the settlement remains, aided by large-scale plans of over 400 hut-circles. The contrast between seasonal and permanent occupation and the relationship between the settlements and the ceremonial and burial sites are considered. The development of medieval agricultural settlement is traced through field remains and documentary sources. Evidence was found of 13th century colonization and 14th century desertion, a pattern repeated elsewhere on Dartmoor, but at least three farms survived into the Post- Medieval period and use of the valley for pasture may be pushed further back, at least to Domesday. Two major Dartmoor industries are also discussed: rabbit-warrening, which was practised from the 17th to the 20th centuries, and tin-working, documented in the valley from the 16th century but possibly originating in the Bronze Age. The field evidence for both is examined and interpreted with the aid of contemporary accounts and comparison with other sites. Finally the evidence for links between contemporary activities, particularly tin-working and agriculture, is examined and the main conclusion to be drawn is that this tract of "marginal" land has been a much more valuable and widely-used resource than might at first appear.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available