History of Devon

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Devon is a county in south west England, bordering Cornwall to the west with Dorset and Somerset to the east. There is evidence of occupation in the county from Stone Age times onward. Its history starts in the Roman period when it was a civitas. It was then a separate kingdom for nearly 300 years until Wessex took control, when it became a shire. It has remained a largely agriculture based region ever since though tourism is now very important.

Prehistory

Devon was one of the first areas of Great Britain settled following the end of the last ice age. Kents Cavern in Torbay is one of the earliest places in England known to have been occupied by modern man. Dartmoor is thought to have been settled by Mesolithic hunter-gatherer peoples from about 6000 BC, and they later cleared much of the oak forest, which regenerated as moor. In the Neolithic era, from about 3500 BC, there is evidence of farming on the moor, and also building and the erection of monuments, using the large granite boulders that are ready to hand there; Dartmoor contains the remains of the oldest known buildings in England. There are over 500 known Neolithic sites on the moor, in the form of burial mounds, stone rows, stone circles and ancient settlements such as the one at Grimspound. Stone rows are a particularly striking feature, ranging in length from a few metres to over 3 km. Their ends are often marked by a cairn, a stone circle, or a standing stone (see menhir). Because most of...
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