Building a Typology

Trowlesworthy 2 single stone row on Dartmoor

One way of understanding stone rows is to identify similarities and differences between them. By grouping similar rows together it is possible to present, analyze and interpret them using a typology. Inevitably given the considerable variety in form and character the choice of criteria and the various cut off points will have an impact on the results, but one has to start somewhere. Four separate and measurable differences have been chosen and these are:

  • Length -short (less than 20m long) and long (more than 20m long)
  • Type -Single, Double, Triple and Multiple
  • Number of stone – either less than 10 or more than 10
  • Size of stones (Small and medium sized stones (less than 0.8m high) and large sized stones (greater than 0.8m high)

Despite the relatively small number of criteria utilised this could have resulted in a maximum of 60 separate groups of similar rows. In fact only 32 were identified. Over time separate pages looking at the rows in each of these categories will be created. It is to be hoped that the creation of this typology will permit a fuller understanding of the stone rows, but at the very least it should be possible to identify where similar rows are situated. Only the categories below with hyperlinks are currently available.

Flow diagram illustrating the structure of the typology.

Row Typology (Number in brackets refer to the number of rows of that type)

Single Rows

S1.  Short single rows composed of less than 10 small and/or medium sized stones (11)

S2   Short single rows composed of less than 10 large sized stones (37)

S3.  Short single rows composed of less than 10 different sized stones (21)

S4.  Short single rows composed of 10 or more small and/or medium sized stones (3)

S6.  Short single rows composed of 10 or more different sized stones (1)

S7.  Long single rows composed of less than 10 small and/or medium sized stones (9)

S8.  Long single rows composed of less than 10 large sized stones (23)

S9.  Long single rows composed of less than 10 different sized stones (10)

S10.  Long single rows composed of 10 or more small and/or  medium sized stones (23)

S11.  Long single rows composed of 10 or more large sized stones (2)

S12  Long single rows composed of 10 or more different sized stones (27)

Distribution of the different types of single stone row

Maps showing the distribution of the different types of single stone row. Click on the image to open a higher resolution version.

These maps illustrate both similarities and differences between the distribution of different types of row. The distributions of Types S1, S7 and S10 are almost identical and all include small and/or medium stones. Types S1, S4, S7, S10 and S11 are clearly focused on SW Britain, whilst S3 has a predominantly Welsh distribution. Type S8 has the most comprehensive national distribution whilst S9 is also comparatively widespread. The most localised distributions are those for types S4 and S11, whilst type S2 is predominantly Scottish.  Dartmoor is best represented by types S10 and S12 and on nearby Exmoor only types S1, S7 and S10 are found. A solitary S6 row in Mid Wales helps emphasise the considerable variation in form. These maps confirm that rows of different types were generally built in certain parts of the country but that some types were adopted on a national scale.


Double Rows

D1.  Short double rows composed of less than 10 small and/or medium sized stones (12)

D4.  Short double rows composed of 10 or more small and/or medium sized stones (3)

D7.  Long double rows composed of less than 10 small and/or medium sized stones (12)

D8.  Long double rows composed of less than 10 large sized stones (2)

D9.  Long double rows composed of less than 10 different sized stones (2)

D10.  Long double rows composed of 10 or more small and/or medium sized stones (23)

D11.  Long double rows composed of 10 or more large sized stones (6)

D12.  Long double rows composed of 10 or more different sized stones (13)

Distribution of the different types of double stone row

Maps showing the distribution of the different types of double stone row. Click on the image to open a higher resolution version.

This series of maps demonstrate that double rows are most common in South West England although most types have at least one known example beyond this region. The variety of form is emphasised by the large number of different types.


Triple Rows

T1.    Short triple rows composed of less than 10 small and/or medium sized stones (1)

 

T10.  Long triple rows composed of 10 or more small and/or medium sized stones (5)

 

T12.  Long triple rows composed of 10 or more different sized stones (4)

 

Distribution of the different types of triple stone row

Maps showing the distribution of the different types of triple stone row. Click on the image to open a higher resolution version.

Triple rows are all confined to South West Britain with all Dartmoor examples being of type T12.


Multiple Rows

M1.  Short multiple rows composed of less than 10 small and/or medium sized stones (2)

 

M4.  Short multiple rows composed of more 10 or more small and/or medium sized stones (5)

 

M7.  Long multiple rows composed of less than 10 small and/or medium sized stones (7)

 

M10.  Long multiple rows composed of more 10 or more small and/or medium sized stones (17)

 

M12.  Long multiple rows composed of 10 or more different sized stones (1)

 

Distribution of the different types of multiple stone row

Maps showing the distribution of the different types of triple stone row. Click on the image to open a higher resolution version.

Examples of all but one type are found in Northern Scotland and most South West English examples belong to type M10.


Combination

C3. Short combination rows composed of less than 10 different sized stones (1)

C8. Long combination rows composed of less than 10 large sized stones  (1)

C10. Long combination rows composed of 10 or more small and/or medium sized stones (6)

C12. Long combination rows composed of 10 or more different sized stones (3)

 

Distribution of the different types of combination stone row

Maps showing the distribution of the different types of combination stone row. Click on the image to open a higher resolution version.

Combination rows are most common in South West Britain, but are limited to Types C10 and C12. Types C3 and C8 are only found in Scotland.


No rows with the following characteristics are currently known:

S5.  Short single rows composed of 10 or more large sized stones

D2   Short double rows composed of less than 10 large sized stones

D5.  Short double rows composed of 10 or more large sized stones

D6.  Short double rows composed of 10 or more different sized stones

T1.  Short triple rows composed of less than 10 small and medium sized stones

T2   Short triple rows composed of less than 10 large sized stones

T4.  Short triple rows composed of 10 or more small and medium sized stones

T5.  Short triple rows composed of 10 or more large sized stones

T6.  Short triple rows composed of 10 or more different sized stones

T7.  Long triple rows composed of less than 10 small and medium sized stones

T9.  Long triple rows composed of less than 10 different sized stones

T10.  Long triple rows composed of 10 or more small and medium sized stones

T11.  Long triple rows composed of 10 or more large sized stones

T12.  Long triple rowscomposed of 10 or more different sized stones

M2.   Short multiple rows composed of less than 10 large sized stones

M3.  Short multiple rows composed of less than 10 different sized stones

M5.  Short multiple rows composed of 10 or more large sized stones

M6.  Short multiple rows composed of 10 or more different sized stones

M8.  Long multiple rows composed of less than 10 large sized stones

M9.  Long multiple rows composed of less than 10 different sized stones

M11.  Long multiple rows composed of 10 or more large sized stones


First Published: 14th February 2018

Last Updated: 22nd November 2019

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