Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairn on Piles Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Harford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4333 / 50°26'0"N

Longitude: -3.8976 / 3°53'51"W

OS Eastings: 265325.296862

OS Northings: 60996.418845

OS Grid: SX653609

Mapcode National: GBR Q9.20KB

Mapcode Global: FRA 27QX.3CX

Entry Name: Cairn on Piles Hill

Scheduled Date: 27 November 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012466

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10560

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Harford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


Many examples of funerary monuments are preserved on Dartmoor, mostly dating
to the Bronze Age (c.2500-500BC). 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 consists of
a mound of stone and earth covered by turf and lies north of the summit on
the brow of Piles Hill. It is 14 m. in diameter and 1.5 m. in height, with a
hollow in the centre suggesting that it has been robbed in the past.

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 provides 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. Despite
some disturbance, this cairn is a well-preserved example and occupies a
prominent position on the brow of Piles Hill. Its relationship to cairns on
the hill and other cairns and stone alignments in the area, indicates the
wealth of evidence relating to the spiritual side of prehistoric life on
this part of the Moor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Dartmoor Barrows, , Vol. 36, (1978)
Devon County SMR SX66SE-036,

Source: Historic England

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