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: 50.4337 / 50°26'1"N

Longitude: -3.8972 / 3°53'49"W

OS Eastings: 265355.959276

OS Northings: 61037.748826

OS Grid: SX653610

Mapcode National: GBR Q9.20NH

Mapcode Global: FRA 27QX.3K7

Entry Name: Cairn on Piles Hill

Scheduled Date: 6 December 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012467

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10561

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Harford

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.2500-500BC). 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 lies north of two other larger cairns on the top of Piles Hill, it is
10 m. in diameter and 0.3 m. in height and grass-covered; it shows no
evidence of having been dug into and has a flattish top. The cairn is about
40 m. south of the stone alignment which runs up the eastern slope of Piles
Hill from the West Glaze Brook Valley.

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. This is a
well-preserved example and occupies a prominent position in a group of
cairns on the brow of Piles Hill. Its relationship with these and other
cairns and stone alignments in the area, indicates the wealth of evidence
relating to the ritual side of 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), 140
Devon County SMR SX66SE-342,

Source: Historic England

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