Ancient Monuments

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Platform cairn with rim bank and central cairn, and a secondary cairn, on the summit of Carne Down

A Scheduled Monument in Altarnun, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.6078 / 50°36'28"N

Longitude: -4.544 / 4°32'38"W

OS Eastings: 220093.021935

OS Northings: 81769.162951

OS Grid: SX200817

Mapcode National: GBR NB.C2N1

Mapcode Global: FRA 17CG.HL1

Entry Name: Platform cairn with rim bank and central cairn, and a secondary cairn, on the summit of Carne Down

Scheduled Date: 4 September 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011781

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15036

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 comprises a small platform cairn with a rim bank and single
central cairn, and secondary small round cairn situated on the summit of Carne
Down, on the NE edge of Bodmin Moor.
The platform cairn survives as a circular bank, 3m wide, 15m external diameter
and 0.5m high, surrounding a small central round cairn, 5m diameter and 0.6m
high; the surface of the platform between the cairn and bank is barely raised
above the general ground level. The bank, cairn and intervening low platform
surface are composed of turf-covered small stones. The stones forming the
central cairn have been spread a little to the S and E sides, but the
distinction between the cairn and the outer bank is particularly clear in the
N and W sectors. A secondary cairn is situated 5m NW of the platform cairn's
outer bank and comprises a low round mound of small stones, 5m in diameter and
0.3m high, largely turf-covered.
These cairns are situated on the highest point of Carne Down near the upper
boundary of a Prehistoric field system to the NE and SE, with other
Prehistoric boundaries and settlement sites on the hillslope to the W and N.

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
quality and diversity of the evidence is such that the Moor has been the
subject of detailed archaeological survey and hence it forms one of the best
recorded upland landscapes in England. Of particular note are the extensive
relict landscapes of Prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date. Together
these 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 the later industrial remains provides significant
insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time.
Raised platform cairns with rim banks are funerary monuments dating to the
Bronze Age (c.2500 - 700 BC). They were constructed as low earthen or rubble
platforms on which were often sited one or more mounds surrounded by a low
bank, and occasionally a ditch, on the platform perimeter. The mounds covered
single or multiple burials, usually cremations, sometimes accompanied by grave
goods such as pottery vessels. Often occupying prominent locations they are a
major visual element in the modern landscape. They are one of several types of
funerary monument grouped under the term `fancy barrows', which are rare
monuments nationally, with under 250 examples known outside barrow cemeteries.
Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation
amongst Prehistoric communities and a substantial proportion of surviving
examples are considered worthy of protection. Both these examples on Carne
Down are well preserved. They are unusual in being located so close together.
They are also closely associated with extensive remains of a Prehistoric field
system and settlement sites on the slopes surrounding the summit.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Trahair, J E R, 'Cornish Archaeology' in A survey of cairns on Bodmin Moor, , Vol. 17, (1978), 3-24
Consulted 1/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1523,

Source: Historic England

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