Ancient Monuments

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Two stone alignments and a round cairn 390m north west of Sharpitor

A Scheduled Monument in Walkhampton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5176 / 50°31'3"N

Longitude: -4.0366 / 4°2'11"W

OS Eastings: 255714.570054

OS Northings: 70628.317116

OS Grid: SX557706

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.QT42

Mapcode Global: FRA 27FP.H7J

Entry Name: Two stone alignments and a round cairn 390m NW of Sharpitor

Scheduled Date: 6 January 1972

Last Amended: 9 November 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007422

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22283

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Walkhampton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes two roughly parallel stone alignments and a round cairn
situated on a gently sloping hillside overlooking the valley of the River
Walkham. The round cairn stands at the south-western end of two rows of
stones, one row arranged in pairs (a double stone alignment), and the other
row comprising single stones.
The cairn mound measures 7.4m in diameter and stands up to 0.4m high. A hollow
in the eastern side of the mound is probably the result of partial excavation
or robbing. The double stone alignment includes forty-one visible stones of
which eleven have fallen. Other stones probably survive below the ground
surface. This row extends from the cairn in an ENE direction and measures
112.5m long. The tallest stones survive at the eastern end and measure 0.5m
and 1m high. The distance between the stone pairings varies between 2.38m and
1.16m and is generally greater towards the eastern end. The terminal cairn at
the western end and a blocking stone at the east indicate that the original
length of the alignment survives. The single alignment includes thirty stones
forming an 82.5m long row standing between 0.1m and 0.4m high. The eastern end
of this row lies close to the blocking stone.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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. Stone alignments or stone rows
consist of upright stones set in single file or in avenues of two or more
parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are often
physically linked to burial monuments, such as small cairns, cists and
barrows, and are considered to have had an important ceremonial function. The
Dartmoor alignments mostly date from the Late Neolithic period (c.2400-2000
BC). Some eighty examples, most of them on the outer Moor, provide over half
the recorded national population. Due to their comparative rarity and
longevity as a monument type, all surviving examples are considered nationally
important, unless very badly damaged.

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the
latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were
locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple
burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying
prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape.
Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation
amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative
of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved
and densest concentrations of round cairns in south-western Britain.
Despite evidence for partial excavation of the cairn and limited robbing of
the stone alignments, the two stone alignments and round cairn 390m NNW of
Sharpitor survive comparatively well and form an important constituent part of
a diverse group of monuments including contemporary settlements, field
systems, ritual and other funerary sites.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Worth, R H, Worth's Dartmoor, (1981), 214
Emmett, D D, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Stone Rows: The Traditional View Reconsidered, , Vol. 37, (1979), 109
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE26,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE27,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE27.01,
National Archaeological Record, SX57SE118,
National Archaeological Record, SX57SE49,

Source: Historic England

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