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Prehistoric embanked platform cairn and medieval transhumance hut 1.49km north west of Tresellern Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Altarnun, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5718 / 50°34'18"N

Longitude: -4.5099 / 4°30'35"W

OS Eastings: 222365.415797

OS Northings: 77685.77555

OS Grid: SX223776

Mapcode National: GBR NC.FCDT

Mapcode Global: FRA 17FK.BTT

Entry Name: Prehistoric embanked platform cairn and medieval transhumance hut 1.49km NW of Tresellern Farm

Scheduled Date: 17 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012230

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15191

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 embanked platform cairn with an adjacent
medieval transhumance hut situated on the summit of the central hill of East
Moor on eastern Bodmin Moor. The cairn forms one element of a local
concentration of broadly contemporary ceremonial and funerary monuments
including an additional platform cairn.
The cairn survives with a turf-covered flat-topped platform of heaped rubble,
22m in diameter and 0.4m high, sloping gently over its peripheral 3m to ground
level. The crest of the cairn's peripheral slope is marked by a rubble bank,
16m in external diameter, 1.5m wide and up to 0.7m above ground level,
defining the perimeter of the cairn's level interior, 13m in diameter.
Occasional small edge-set slabs are visible through the turf along the outer
face of the bank.
The medieval transhumance hut is centred 4.75m beyond the western edge of the
cairn and is visible as a low turf-covered wall, 0.5m wide and 0.2m high,
defining a rectangular internal area, sunken 0.1m deep and measuring 2m
NNE-SSW by 1.5m wide, without an entrance gap. This hut is typical of the
early medieval stock-herders' huts on Bodmin Moor occupied during the summer
pasturing of stock on the uplands, the result of the seasonal movement of
herds called transhumance.

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.
Platform cairns are funerary monuments covering single or multiple burials and
dating to the early Bronze Age (c.2000 - 1600 BC). They were constructed as
low flat-topped mounds of stone rubble up to 40m in external diameter. Some
examples have other features, including peripheral banks and internal mounds
constructed on the platform. A kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds the
edges of the platform, bank or mound or all three. Platform cairns occur as
isolated monuments, in small groups or in cairn cemeteries. In the latter
instances they are normally found alongside cairns of other types. Although no
precise figure is available, current evidence indicates that there are under
250 known examples of platform cairns nationally. Platform cairns are a rare
monument type which exhibit considerable variation in form and which provide
important information on the diversity of ritual beliefs during the Bronze
Transhumance huts are small, seasonally occupied herdsman's huts built to
provide shelter while tending herds grazing summer pasture on uplands or
marshland. These huts reflect a system called transhumance, whereby stock was
moved in spring from lowland pastures about the permanently occupied farms to
communal upland grazing during the warmer summer months. Settlement patterns
reflecting transhumance are known from the Bronze Age (c2000 - 700 BC)
onwards, but the construction of herdsman's huts in a form distinctive from
the normal dwelling houses of farmers only appears from the early medieval
period onwards (from AD 450), when the practice of transhumance is also known
from documentary sources and place-name studies. Their construction generally
comes to an end by the 16th century. Transhumance huts are typically small, up
to 10m long by 5m wide externally, but commonly much smaller, and they may
occur singly or in groups of over 15. They have a simple sub-rectangular or
ovoid plan, normally defined by drystone walling though occasional turf-built
structures are known. At least 250 transhumance huts are known nationally of
which at least 50 are recorded from Bodmin Moor, though this number is
expected to increase with future recognition. Transhumance huts represent a
significant component of the surviving remains of medieval upland landscapes,
providing important information on the nature of settlement and farming
practices during the medieval period.

This platform cairn and the adjacent transhumance hut have each survived well,
with no visible or recorded evidence for any previous disturbance. The
proximity of this monument to another platform cairn of a differing type is
very rare and important for understanding the relationships between the forms
of this type of monument. The proximity of the monument to other, broadly
contemporary, funerary and ceremonial monuments demonstrates well the nature
and diversity of funerary and ritual activities during the later Neolithic and
Bronze Age periods, while the presence of the transhumance hut beside the
platform cairn illustrates the developments in upland land use from the
Prehistoric to the medieval periods.

Source: Historic England


CAU/RCHME, The Bodmin Moor Survey, Unpubl. draft text consulted 1992/93
consulted 1992, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2277,
consulted 3/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1088.1,
consulted 3/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1088.2,
consulted 3/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1089,
consulted 3/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1101,

Source: Historic England

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