Ancient Monuments

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Cairn and cist forming part of a cairnfield on Homerton Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Sourton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.697 / 50°41'49"N

Longitude: -4.0374 / 4°2'14"W

OS Eastings: 256206.986238

OS Northings: 90572.688249

OS Grid: SX562905

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.CDRC

Mapcode Global: FRA 27F7.GY1

Entry Name: Cairn and cist forming part of a cairnfield on Homerton Hill

Scheduled Date: 1 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010778

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24154

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Sourton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Okehampton All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a cairn and cist forming an outlying part of a
cairnfield situated on a gentle north west facing slope of Homerton Hill
overlooking the valley of the West Okement River. Other cairns, an enclosure
and bank lie in the immediate vicinity and these are covered by separate
The cairn measures 4m in diameter, stands up to 0.7m high on the downslope
side and 0.3m high on the upslope. The cairn has been partially excavated to
reveal a cist orientated NNW to SSE. The interior of the cist measures 1.05m
long, 0.45m wide and 0.5m deep. One end stone was removed during excavation
and the coverstone, which was also displaced at this time, lies immediately
NNE of the mound. This cairn forms part of a group which most likely
represents stone clearance connected with cultivation of the area, although
clearly some examples were also used for funerary purposes.

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 Homerton 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 agricultural
and funerary activity on the western side of the Moor. This cairn is the only
example within the cairnfield which contains a visible cist, although given
that the mound is of a similar size to others within the group, there is a
possibility that other unexcavated examples remain.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX59SE56, (1980)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,

Source: Historic England

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