Ancient Monuments

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A platform cairn 240m NNE of Cawsand Beacon forming part of a cairn cemetery on the summit of Cawsand Hill

A Scheduled Monument in South Tawton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.709 / 50°42'32"N

Longitude: -3.9317 / 3°55'54"W

OS Eastings: 263706.035681

OS Northings: 91714.140629

OS Grid: SX637917

Mapcode National: GBR Q6.3PTT

Mapcode Global: FRA 27N6.G44

Entry Name: A platform cairn 240m NNE of Cawsand Beacon forming part of a cairn cemetery on the summit of Cawsand Hill

Scheduled Date: 1 March 1972

Last Amended: 6 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010772

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24147

County: Devon

Civil Parish: South Tawton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: South Tawton St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a platform cairn situated on the summit ridge of
Cawsand or Cosdon Hill. The cairn forms part of a cemetery including at least
two round cairns, two ring cairns and one platform cairn. The cairn mound
measures 16.5m in diameter and stands up to 1m high. A hollow in the centre of
the mound representing an early excavation has been largely backfilled with
loose rubble to form a pile of stones measuring 3m in diameter and 1m high.
The outer edge of the mound is faced with close set orthostats, many of which
are leaning outwards away from the cairn, forming a kerb standing up to 0.7m
high. A second kerb survives largely as a buried feature 1m inside the outer
ring and is visible as four edge set stones in the western side of the mound.
Two ring cairns and two round cairns also lie on the summit of Cawsand Hill.

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 evidence of partial early excavation, the platform cairn 240m NNE of
Cawsand Beacon survives well and contains archaeological and environmental
information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was
erected. This cairn forms part of the Cawsand Hill cairn cemetery, which
includes at least two round cairns, two ring cairns and a platform cairn.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Rowe, S, A Perambulation of the Ancient and Royal Forest of Dartmoor85-86
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 2, (1990), 206-207
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX69SW50, (1993)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, SX69SW16,

Source: Historic England

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