Ancient Monuments

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Two cairns forming part of a cairnfield on Longstone Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Okehampton Hamlets, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.7027 / 50°42'9"N

Longitude: -4.0313 / 4°1'52"W

OS Eastings: 256654.041422

OS Northings: 91197.254222

OS Grid: SX566911

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.C2BC

Mapcode Global: FRA 27F7.58Z

Entry Name: Two cairns forming part of a cairnfield on Longstone Hill

Scheduled Date: 9 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010590

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24184

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Okehampton Hamlets

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Okehampton All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

This monument includes two cairns, aligned NNW-SSE, situated on a west facing
slope of Longstone Hill forming part of a cairnfield, including at least 64
mounds, overlooking the valleys of the Redaven Brook and West Okement River.
Other cairns lie in the immediate vicinity and these are covered by separate
schedulings. Both mounds are sub-circular in shape. The northern mound
measures 6.5m in diameter and stands up to 1m on the downslope side and 0.4m
high on the upslope. A ditch from which material was quarried during the
construction of the mound surrounds the cairn and survives as a 1.5m wide and
0.2m deep hollow on the southern and eastern sides and as a buried feature
elsewhere. The southern mound measures 2.5m in diameter and 0.2m high. Many of
the mounds within the cairnfield are crest sited and are therefore clearly
visible from long distances to the east and west. This situation strongly
suggests that many of the cairns probably contain burials, although the size
and shape of some mounds suggests that some may also be associated with stone
clearance connected with cultivation of the area. The northern cairn within
this monument is likely to be of funerary origin because of the associated
quarry ditch, a feature not known to be associated with clearance cairns.

MAP EXTRACT
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,
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. Cairnfields are concentrations of three or
more cairns sited within close proximity to one another; they may consist of
burial cairns or cairns built with stone cleared from the land surface
(clearance cairns). Round funerary cairns were constructed during the Bronze
Age (c.2000-700 BC) and consisted of earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes
ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. The
considerable variation in the size of cairnfields and their 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.

The cairnfield on Longstone Hill survives well and contains archaeological and
environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it
was constructed. It provides a valuable insight into Bronze Age funerary,
ritual and agricultural activity on the north western side of the moor. This
cairnfield is more extensive and contains more cairns than any other similar
site known on the moor, and its association with a standing stone and single
stone hut circle is rare.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX59SE39, (1982)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,

Source: Historic England

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