Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Five round barrows on Black Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Bovey Tracey, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5939 / 50°35'38"N

Longitude: -3.7503 / 3°45'0"W

OS Eastings: 276210.3846

OS Northings: 78595.696

OS Grid: SX762785

Mapcode National: GBR QH.WVNH

Mapcode Global: FRA 371H.DT4

Entry Name: Five round barrows on Black Hill

Scheduled Date: 20 August 1974

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004577

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 902

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Bovey Tracey

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Manaton St Winifred

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


A round cairn cemetery on Black Hill 400m west of Yarner Wells.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 13 November 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument which falls into five areas includes a round cairn cemetery situated close to the summit of Black Hill at the northern edge of Haytor Down overlooking the valley of the River Bovey. The cemetery survives as two groups of cairns, the northern one containing two and the southern having three. All the cairns are preserved as circular stony mounds which vary in diameter from 12m to 18m and from 0.6m to 1m in height. All have central hollows indicating partial early excavations or robbing and all have had some alteration to their original profile by subsequent stone moving activities.

Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are not included in the scheduling because they have not been formally assessed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and, because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, major land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Round cairn cemeteries date to the Bronze Age. They comprise groups of cairns sited in close proximity to one another and take the form of stone mounds constructed to cover single or multiple burials. Contemporary or later `flat' graves may lie between individual cairns. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time and they can exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form. Occasionally they are associated with earlier long cairns. They may also be associated with clearance cairns - heaps of stones cleared from the adjacent ground surface to improve its quality for agricultural activities; these were also being constructed during the Bronze Age, although some examples are of later date. It may be impossible without excavation to distinguish between some burial and clearance cairns. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south- western Britain. Occupying prominent locations they are a major historic element in the modern landscape. Their diversity and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. Despite early partial excavation and subsequent remodelling of their profiles the round cairn cemetery on Black Hill 400m west of Yarner Wells survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, the relative chronologies of the cairns, social organisation, territorial significance, funerary and ritual practices and their landscape context through time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume One - The East , (1991), 28
PastScape Monument No:-444894 and 444987

Source: Historic England

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