Ancient Monuments

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Round cairn with double orthostatic kerb and cist 497m south east of Trewortha Farm

A Scheduled Monument in North Hill, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5487 / 50°32'55"N

Longitude: -4.4775 / 4°28'38"W

OS Eastings: 224576.912699

OS Northings: 75039.931698

OS Grid: SX245750

Mapcode National: GBR NF.GV01

Mapcode Global: FRA 17HM.5GX

Entry Name: Round cairn with double orthostatic kerb and cist 497m SE of Trewortha Farm

Scheduled Date: 10 July 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009688

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15110

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: North Hill

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: North Hill

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a well-preserved cairn with a double orthostatic kerb
about a central cist, situated near other similar cairns and close to
Prehistoric field systems and settlement sites on the north-western lower
slope of Kilmar Tor on eastern Bodmin Moor.
The cairn survives with an oval mound of heaped rubble, measuring 6m WNW-ESE
by 4.5m NNE-SSW and rising to 0.75m high. A kerb of twelve upright slabs,
called orthostats, is set within the periphery of the cairn at the ESE end of
the mound, defining a circular area 4m in diameter. This outer kerb's
orthostats are almost contiguous with graded heights, the tallest, 1m high,
being situated in the ESE sector with neighbouring orthostats of lesser
heights down to 0.5m. The orthostat at the WSW leans, and has become
displaced, outwards. Within the outer kerb is an almost concentric inner
kerb, 2m in diameter though again with its WSW stone leaning and displaced
outwards by 1m. The inner kerb comprises contiguous edge-set slabs of even
height, 0.5m above the surrounding ground level, matching that of the rubble
which fills the 0.8-1.2m wide gap between the two kerbs. The inner kerb also
prevents the rubble from entering the central area whose general level is
0.3m below the kerb's upper edge. Within the hollowed central area is a box-
like, slab-lined structure called a cist, whose covering slab has become
displaced and tilted into the SW side of the cist's interior. The remainder
of the cist is extensively obscured by soil deposits and vegetation but its
lining slab on the NNE long side is visible, surviving at least 1.3m long and
0.5m deep. The covering slab is sub-rectangular, measuring 1.4m by 0.75m and
0.35m thick.

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

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been
recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The
Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the
best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of
prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human
exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The
well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field
systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains
provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land
use through time. Round cairns are funerary monuments covering single or
multiple burials and dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were
constructed as mounds of earth and stone rubble up to 40m in external diameter
but usually considerably smaller; a kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds
the edges of the mound. Burials were placed in small pits, or on occasion
within a box-like structure of stone slabs called a cist, let into the old
ground surface or dug into the body of the cairn. Round cairns can occur as
isolated monuments, in small groups or in larger cemeteries. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provides
important information on the diversity of beliefs, burial practices and social
organisation in the Bronze Age. They are particularly representative of their
period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of preservation.

This cairn on Kilmar Tor has survived well, displaying several unusual
features, notably the combination of an oval mound, intact partly orthostatic
kerbs and a well-preserved cist. There is no evident or recorded disturbance.
It is not considered that the cist was originally covered by much more mound
material than at present. Though it is likely that the cist's contents were
removed when the cover slab was displaced, this is by no means certain in this
instance and no antiquarian trenching is apparent. The cairn will also retain
intact its other sub-surface features, including any other burial deposits.
This cairn's proximity to broadly contemporary settlement sites and funerary
monuments of various types demonstrates well the organisation of land use and
the diversity of funerary practices during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Trahair, J E R, 'Cornish Archaeology' in A survey of cairns on Bodmin Moor, , Vol. 17, (1978)
consulted 9/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2475,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1012.01,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1012.02,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1012.05,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1077,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1288,

Source: Historic England

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