In respect of autogenous and drying shrinkage and the effects of relaxation creep during the hydration cycle, roller compacted concrete in dams has to date been universally assumed to behave in the same manner as conventional mass concrete, despite notional evidence to the contrary on prototype dam structures, particularly in respect of high-paste RCC. While the results of laboratory materials testing and associated early behaviour analyses for RCC have been published, no conclusive example exists in the public domain whereby predicted behaviour is confirmed through measured behaviour on a comprehensively-instrumented prototype dam structure. In his PhD thesis, Quentin Shaw presents evidence to indicate that the early behaviour of RCC, and particularly high quality, high-paste RCC in dams, is quite different to that of CVC. Referring to instrumentation records from Wolwedans and Knellpoort dams in South Africa, Çine Dam in Turkey, Wadi Dayqah Dam in Oman and Changuinola 1 Dam in Panama, indications of less than expected shrinkage and stress relaxation creep during the hydration cycle in the constituent RCC are documented. Taking the comprehensively-instrumented and monitored Wolwedans Dam, the actual materials behaviour of the constituent RCC is evaluated through the replication of the prototype behaviour on a finite element model. Through this analysis, it is clearly demonstrated that the level of shrinkage and stress relaxation creep that would be traditionally assumed in RCC simply did not occur. In fact, the analyses suggested that no shrinkage, or creep was apparent. The reasons for the different behaviour of high-paste RCC compared to CVC are subsequently explored. With Wadi Dayqah Dam as the only example evaluated where some drying shrinkage and/or stress relaxation creep was obviously apparent, the evident susceptibility of this lean RCC mix, with a high w/c ratio, a high content of non-cementitious fines, natural gravel aggregates, a high aggregate water absorption and placement in a very dry environment, is noted. However, it is considered to be the combination of a strong aggregate skeletal structure developed through roller compaction and a low w/c ratio that results in a particularly resilience in high-paste RCC to early shrinkage and creep. It is also recognised that temperature and gravity effects in an arch dam structure will tend to limit, or even eliminate containment stresses in the critical load-carrying upper section and that this will reduce the risk and impact of stress relaxation creep. Consequently, a new understanding of the early behaviour of RCC in large dams is presented, suggesting that a high quality RCC mix in an arch dam can be designed for a cumulative shrinkage and stress relaxation creep under the hydration cycle of approximately 20 microstrain, compared with a more traditionally accepted value of between 125 and 200 microstrain. The implications of these findings on the design of large RCC dams are demonstrated to be significant, particularly in respect of RCC arch dams. In addition, suggestions are made for the requirements in respect of RCC mix design for negligible shrinkage and creep, while an approach to combine the use of field measurement with structural modelling to predict and demonstrate actual RCC behaviour is briefly discussed.