Ancient Monuments

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Round cairn east of Down Tor, 770m north east of Combshead Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Sheepstor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5078 / 50°30'28"N

Longitude: -3.9871 / 3°59'13"W

OS Eastings: 259195.117499

OS Northings: 69446.073053

OS Grid: SX591694

Mapcode National: GBR Q4.4FN0

Mapcode Global: FRA 27JQ.BJ2

Entry Name: Round cairn east of Down Tor, 770m north east of Combshead Tor

Scheduled Date: 30 October 1956

Last Amended: 6 October 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009092

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24122

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Sheepstor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes a round cairn situated on a gentle west-facing slope of
Hingston Hill overlooking Down Tor. The cairn mound measures 17m in diameter
and stands up to 1.5m high. A hollow cut into the core of the mound measures
4m long, 3m wide, 1.2m deep and the sides are partly revetted. This pit is
probably the result of partial robbing or an early excavation, although the
results of the investigation are not known.
The edges of the mound are steep sided indicating the presence of a kerb,
which survives largely as a buried feature. A ditch, from which material was
quarried during the construction of the cairn, surrounds the mound. This has
become infilled over the years but is represented by a 1.5m wide band of
rushes, on the northern side of the mound, caused by increased moisture in the
buried ditch.
This cairn is in direct line with the two terminal stones at either end of the
stone alignment to the south west which is the subject of a separate
scheduling (SM 24084).

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. 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 most dense concentrations of round cairns in south-
western Britain.

Despite partial early excavation, the round cairn east of Down Tor, 770m north
east of Combshead Tor survives comparatively well and contains important
archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the
landscape in which it was erected. This cairn lies in close proximity to a
stone alignment, two other cairns, an enclosure and reave.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Worth, R H, Worth's Dartmoor, (1981), 212
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE79, (1985)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, SX56NE31,

Source: Historic England

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