Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairn with a cist south-east of Shavercombe Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Sheepstor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4758 / 50°28'32"N

Longitude: -3.98 / 3°58'48"W

OS Eastings: 259599.626192

OS Northings: 65873.620699

OS Grid: SX595658

Mapcode National: GBR Q4.6HFL

Mapcode Global: FRA 27KS.TGJ

Entry Name: Cairn with a cist south-east of Shavercombe Tor

Scheduled Date: 29 November 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012211

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10651

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Sheepstor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


Many examples of Prehistoric funerary monuments are preserved on Dartmoor,
mostly dating to the Bronze Age (c.2500-500 BC). To celebrate or commemorate
the dead, mounds of earth or stone were piled in a roughly hemispherical
shape over the burial, which was sometimes contained in a small rectangular
structure, or cist, made of stone slabs. Some monuments also include
kerbstones marking the outer edge of the mound and a surrounding ditch.
This cairn with a cist lies on a north-west facing slope approximately 400m
south-east of Shavercombe Tor and 50m south of Shavercombe Brook; it is one
of several cairns in the immediate vicinity. The mound is 5m in diameter and
0.4m in height and has a low retaining kerb of at least eight stones up to
0.5m wide and 0.2m in height. The four slabs of the cist remain in place,
the western side slab is 1.6m in length and extends beyond the southern end
slab, the eastern side slab is 0.8m in length and there is a gap at either
end between it and the end slabs. The northern end slab is 0.7m long, and
the southern one is 0.6m long with a gap between it and the end slabs.
Internally the cist measures 1m in length, 0.7m in width and 0.6m in depth.

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.
This is a comparatively well-preserved example of a cairn with a cist,
situated on the valley slope. Its relationship to other cairns indicates the
wealth of evidence relating to the ritual side of Prehistoric life on this
part of the Moor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proc. Devon Arch. Soc.' in Dartmoor Barrows (0305 5795), , Vol. 36, (1978), 163
Devon County SMR SX56NE-178, Devon County SMR SX56NE-178,

Source: Historic England

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