Ancient Monuments

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Round cairn and enclosure 930m south of Hound Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Gidleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6767 / 50°40'36"N

Longitude: -3.942 / 3°56'31"W

OS Eastings: 262880.129346

OS Northings: 88142.028735

OS Grid: SX628881

Mapcode National: GBR Q6.5M6B

Mapcode Global: FRA 27M9.41H

Entry Name: Round cairn and enclosure 930m south of Hound Tor

Scheduled Date: 1 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010781

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22377

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Gidleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Throwleigh St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a round cairn attached to an enclosure situated on a
gentle east facing slope overlooking Gallaven Mire. The cairn mound measures
8m in diameter and stands up to 0.6m high. This cairn is almost certainly the
one excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1902, and because there
are no earthworks surviving associated with their work, it must be assumed
that the excavators reformed the mound into its present smooth outline. The
excavation revealed a large cist measuring 2.1m long by 1.3m wide, which
contained a 0.46m deep circular pit containing wood charcoal.
The cairn is attached to an enclosure boundary wall which partly surrounds an
area measuring 130m east to west by 105m north to south. Only three sides of
the boundary are visible, with the southern side being either never completed
or surviving as a buried feature. The eastern length includes a rubble wall
measuring 1.4m wide and standing up to 0.5m high, whilst the northern length
survives as a 3m wide and 0.5m high bank. The western length survives as a
lyncheted bank measuring 3.7m wide overall, 0.4m high on the upslope and 0.8m
high on the downslope.
Field evidence suggests that the cairn and enclosure are contemporary and
therefore the enclosure may have served some ritual purpose.

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.

The round cairn and enclosure 930m south of Hound Tor survive well despite
partial early excavation of the cairn. Archaeological and environmental
information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was
erected, survive within both the enclosure and cairn.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Eighth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 34, (1902), 164
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 2, (1990), 149
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX68NW2, (1986)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, SX68NW9,
Spooner's visit to the cist in 1960, Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX68NW2, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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