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Prehistoric and medieval linear boundary with associated peat stack platform 475m SSW of Eastmoorgate

A Scheduled Monument in Altarnun, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5794 / 50°34'45"N

Longitude: -4.5147 / 4°30'52"W

OS Eastings: 222057.437208

OS Northings: 78541.226703

OS Grid: SX220785

Mapcode National: GBR NC.DXV6

Mapcode Global: FRA 17FJ.NZ9

Entry Name: Prehistoric and medieval linear boundary with associated peat stack platform 475m SSW of Eastmoorgate

Scheduled Date: 13 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011509

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15206

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 linear boundary, reused as a medieval
boundary, crossing a low spur on the western lower slope of Fox Tor, East Moor
and an associated medieval or post-medieval peat stack platform. It is
situated close to other broadly contemporary linear boundaries, prehistoric
settlement sites and ceremonial monuments, and medieval cultivation ridges on
eastern Bodmin Moor.
The linear boundary survives as a largely peat and turf-covered bank of heaped
rubble, up to 2m wide and 0.4m high, and is visible for 368m, wavering
slightly about a general NNE-SSW alignment. The boundary crosses the upper
end of the spur from an area of marsh at its NNE end to the edge of a small
valley at its SSW end, terminating above the streambed where the valley side
has been cut into by medieval mining activity. This is one of at least five
similar prehistoric boundaries along the north west and south east edges of
East Moor, each crossing the upper ends of spurs and terminating in marshes or
streambeds at each end. These boundaries separate a lower zone containing
broadly contemporary settlement sites and field systems from the unenclosed
higher moor containing dispersed funerary and ceremonial monuments.
The northern third of the boundary forming this monument was reused during
the medieval period as the western limit of an area of upland cultivation
ridges. The gradual downslope movement of soil, caused largely through
medieval cultivation by a process called lynchetting, has raised the ground
level on the eastern side of the boundary up to 0.3m higher than the level
against its western side over that sector of its course. Later medieval to
post-medieval peat-cutting in the vicinity of the boundary has produced a peat
stack platform, a drained site where cut-peat was stored, situated 1.5m west
of the boundary and 100m south of its northern end. It survives as a sub-
rectangular earthen platform measuring 3.25m NNE-SSW by 2m wide, surrounded by
a ditch, 0.75m wide and 0.1m deep, and an earthen outer bank up to 1.05m wide
and 0.1m high. A 19th century mine water-course, called a leat, fed from the
nearby marsh, cuts ENE-WSW across the boundary, 65m south of its northern end.
The leat is visible as a ditch, 2m wide and 0.6m deep, bounded by a bank of
upcast, 1.75m wide and 0.75m high, along its north west edge. This leat
served the Halvana tin and wolfram mine, operated between 1843 and the First
World War.
Beyond this monument, other linear boundaries continue the same prehistoric
land use division from 110m ENE of its northern end, on the opposite edge of
the marsh, and from 500m to the south, rising from the southern edge of the
valley in which this monument's southern end terminates.

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 insights into successive changes in the pattern of land
use through time. The linear boundaries on Bodmin Moor consist of stone
banks, sometimes incorporating facing slabs or projecting end-set slabs called
orthostats. They may be massively constructed, up to 8m wide and 1m high,
although the majority are much slighter. Built during the Bronze Age (c.2000-
700 BC), they fulfilled a variety of functions. Some run at high altitudes
along a contour and appear to separate lower land used for cultivation from
that less intensively used. Some may be territorial, marking the boundaries of
land held by particular social groups. Others may serve to delineate land set
aside for ceremonial and religious activities such as burial. Frequently
linear boundaries are associated with other forms of contemporary field
system. They provide important information on the farming practices and social
organisation of Bronze Age communities and form an important element of the
existing landscape. A substantial proportion of examples which have survived
are considered worthy of preservation.

This linear boundary on the north west edge of East Moor has survived well,
being supplemented rather than damaged by its medieval reuse and with only
minor and very limited disturbance from the passage of the 19th century mine
water course. The boundary's general thick peat cover, and especially the
deep peat marsh deposits about its northern end, will preserve adjacent
environmental evidence contemporary with the boundary's construction and
periods of use. The boundary's relationship to the local topography,
continued by other linear boundaries nearby, and to broadly contemporary field
systems, funerary and ceremonial monuments, demonstrates well the organisation
of land use and the roles of linear boundaries during the Bronze Age. The
medieval reuse of the boundary, the medieval valley-mining truncating its SSW
end, the adjacent peat stack platform and the transecting mine water course
show well the developments of land use in this moorland edge terrain since the
prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


consulted 4/1992, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP trancriptions for SX 2178 & SX 2278,
consulted 4/1992, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2278,
consulted 4/1992, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcriptions for SX 2277; SX 2278; SX 2279; SX 2378,
consulted 4/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1098.1,
consulted 4/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1098.2,
consulted 4/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1098.2; 1098.3; 1093,
consulted 4/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1098.3,
consulted 4/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1136,
consulted 4/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 12074,
p. 392; PRN 12069, Halvana Mine, Cornwall Arch. Unit, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. An evaluation for the MPP, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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