Ancient Monuments

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Ring cairn 120m west of Branscombe's Loaf forming part of a cemetery on Corn Ridge summit

A Scheduled Monument in Sourton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6838 / 50°41'1"N

Longitude: -4.0511 / 4°3'4"W

OS Eastings: 255195.181313

OS Northings: 89129.067924

OS Grid: SX551891

Mapcode National: GBR Q0.6986

Mapcode Global: FRA 27D8.HL9

Entry Name: Ring cairn 120m west of Branscombe's Loaf forming part of a cemetery on Corn Ridge summit

Scheduled Date: 19 May 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007832

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24065

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Sourton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes a ring cairn situated on the summit of Corn Ridge. The
earthwork survives as a circular bank 1m wide and 0.4m high surrounding an
internal area measuring 21m in diameter. A number of edge-set stones are
visible within the circular bank and these indicate the presence of a kerb
which survives partly as a buried feature. A cairn mound measuring 15m in
diameter and standing up to 1.4m high lies in the centre of the internal area.
A shallow hollow in the centre of the mound suggests partial early excavation
or robbing. The overall diameter of this ring cairn is 23m. This cairn forms
part of a cairn cemetery including two round cairns, two tor cairns and two
ring cairns.

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. A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual
monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter
surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and
sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring
cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered
and authenticated by ground level fieldwork and survey, although a few are
large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or
small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow
cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and
Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully
understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and
others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities
associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been
surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately
known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and
500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable
variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant
archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

The ring cairn 120m west of Branscombe's Loaf survives comparatively well and
contains archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument
and the landscape in which it was erected. This cairn forms part of a cairn
cemetery containing two round cairns, two tor cairns and two types of ring
cairn. Such a diverse range of cairn types within a single cemetery is rare.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 221
Turner, J R, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor, , Vol. 48, (1990), 51

Source: Historic England

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