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Two ring cairns 250m north of the Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar on Cox Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Peter Tavy, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.569 / 50°34'8"N

Longitude: -4.0766 / 4°4'35"W

OS Eastings: 253034.031308

OS Northings: 76424.24905

OS Grid: SX530764

Mapcode National: GBR NZ.FGQL

Mapcode Global: FRA 27BK.KMD

Entry Name: Two ring cairns 250m north of the Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar on Cox Tor

Scheduled Date: 27 June 1963

Last Amended: 2 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011503

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22227

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Peter Tavy

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Details

This monument includes two ring cairns situated on a plateau to the north of
Cox Tor. The westernmost cairn survives as a narrow ridge of north to south
outcropping rock measuring 10m in diameter surrounded by a circular stoney
bank 4m wide standing up to 0.8m high. The eastern cairn lies 10m east of the
other cairn and survives as a 10m diameter raised area on which there is a
central mound measuring 4m in diameter and an outer bank measuring 2.7m wide
and up to 0.7m high.
Excavations carried out by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee during 1898
revealed that both cairns had an outer circular bank with a central infill of
loose stones and earth, but no trace of burials or artefacts were found.
These cairns form part of a round cairn cemetery including two round cairns,
two tor cairns and two ring 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,
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. A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual
monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter
surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and
sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring
cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered
and authenticated by ground level fieldwork and survey, although a few are
large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or
small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow
cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and
Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully
understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and
others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities
associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been
surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately
known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and
500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable
variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant
archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite partial excavation, the two ring cairns 250m north of the Ordnance
Survey triangulation pillar on Cox Tor survive comparatively well and form
part of the Cox Tor round cairn cemetery.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 84
Baring Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Fifth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 30, (1898), 105
Other
National Archaeological Record, SX57NW35,
National Archaeological Record, SX57NW36,

Source: Historic England

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