Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric standing stone 500m NNE of Spettigue Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Altarnun, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.588 / 50°35'16"N

Longitude: -4.5259 / 4°31'33"W

OS Eastings: 221297.88389

OS Northings: 79517.903272

OS Grid: SX212795

Mapcode National: GBR NC.D79D

Mapcode Global: FRA 17DJ.4LV

Entry Name: Prehistoric standing stone 500m NNE of Spettigue Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 June 1938

Last Amended: 8 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011504

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15216

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Altarnun

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Altarnon with Bolventor

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a prehistoric standing stone situated near the centre of
a broad north-easterly ridge on the north-east edge of Bodmin Moor, close to
broadly contemporary hut circle settlements and field systems and to the main
historical route across Bodmin Moor.
The standing stone survives as an end-set, near-vertical, granite slab of
slender triangular section, leaning slightly towards the south. It stands
2.5m high and measures up to 1.1m wide across its main north-east and SSW
faces, which meet along its western and upper edges, and is up to 0.7m thick
across its narrow south-easterly face. The north-east face has a markedly
convex, weathered surfaced while the SSW face has a flatter, eroded fractured
surface. The narrow south-east face is similarly fractured and eroded, and
gives the slab a slender wedge-shaped form whose main faces have almost
parallel sides, tapering very slightly from the blunt pointed upper edge. All
edges are very eroded but include some weathered traces of deliberate shaping
by rough flaking and battering, especially along the western edge and the
south-easterly half of the upper edge. Some relatively recent stock erosion
about the base of the slab has revealed numerous smaller stones, up to 0.3m
across, including some ground-fast examples typical of packing stones used to
support such standing stones in position.
Beyond this monument, broadly contemporary hut circle settlements and field
systems are situated around the north-east end of the ridge, from 300m to the
north-east, while the main medieval and later route across Bodmin Moor passes
along the western side of the ridge, 300m to the north-west. A recent study
of the archaeology of Bodmin Moor has drawn attention to the possible
prehistoric use of this routeway, keeping to higher ground and marked by
standing stones, specifically including this monument, in the same manner that
the medieval route was marked by wayside crosses, one of which is situated
575m to the south-west.

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

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been
recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The
Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the
best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of
prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human
exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The
well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field
systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments, as well as later industrial
remains, provides significant insight into successive changes in the pattern
of land use through time. Standing stones are ceremonial monuments dating
from the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age (c.2400-700 BC). They comprise single
or paired upright slabs, ranging in height from under 1m to over 6m, where
still erect. Standing stones are often conspicuously sited and sometimes are
located in or on the edge of round barrows or cairns. Excavations have
demonstrated sub-surface features adjacent to standing stones, including stone
funerary cists, spreads of small pebbles and various pits and hollows filled
in some cases with human bone, cremations, charcoal and domestic artefacts.
Similar deposits have been found in excavated sockets for standing stones,
which vary considerably in depth. Standing stones may have functioned as
markers for routeways, territorial boundaries, graves and meeting points, but
their adjacent features show that they also bore a ritual function, forming
one of the several known ritual monument classes of their period. Estimates
suggest that about 250 standing stones are known nationally, of which the 16
examples surviving on Bodmin Moor form an important sub-group. They are a
long-lived class of monument, highly representative of their period and all
examples except those which are extensively damaged are considered to be of
national importance.

This standing stone near Spettigue Farm has survived well, displaying rare
evidence for its deliberate shaping. Its proximity to broadly contemporary
hut circle settlements and field systems demonstrates well the relationships
between ritual and agricultural activities during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England


CAU/RCHME, The Bodmin Moor Survey, Unpubl. draft text. Ch.4, 1.3, fig 17
consulted 5/1992, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2179,
consulted 5/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1004,
consulted 5/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1009,
consulted 5/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1104,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map, SX 27/37
Source Date: 1988
Title: 6": 1 mile Ordnance Survey Map, Cornall XXI NE
Source Date: 1907

Source: Historic England

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