Ancient Monuments

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Three cairns forming part of a cairnfield on Longstone Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Okehampton Hamlets, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7032 / 50°42'11"N

Longitude: -4.031 / 4°1'51"W

OS Eastings: 256673.377148

OS Northings: 91252.315313

OS Grid: SX566912

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.C2DC

Mapcode Global: FRA 27F6.ZB8

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

Scheduled Date: 9 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010604

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24185

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


This monument includes three cairns situated on a north 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. Two of the mounds are ovoid in shape, are aligned north west to
south east and measure respectively 3.5m long, 2.2m wide and 0.5m high, and 8m
long, 4m wide and 0.8m high. The third mound is sub-circular, measures 5.7m in
diameter and stands 1.1m high on the downslope side and 0.3m high on the
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 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


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

Source: Historic England

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