Ancient Monuments

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Cairn on Piles Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Harford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4319 / 50°25'54"N

Longitude: -3.8976 / 3°53'51"W

OS Eastings: 265324.489107

OS Northings: 60833.140256

OS Grid: SX653608

Mapcode National: GBR Q9.26KV

Mapcode Global: FRA 27QX.9DL

Entry Name: Cairn on Piles Hill

Scheduled Date: 17 May 1956

Last Amended: 22 October 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012474

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10559

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
very large cairn, 32 m. in diameter, is situated on the summit of Piles
It consists of a central mound, 1.5 m. in height, on a stone and earth
platform, with a 3 m. wide berm extending beyond the circumference of the
mound and a bank of stones surrounding the whole monument. It is considered
to be a variant of the Wessex Bell Barrow type.

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 very
large cairn on Piles Hill is a well-preserved example and occupies a
prominent position on the summit of the hill; its size and form, a variant
upon the Wessex Bell Barrow type, are extremely rare on the Moor. Its
relationship to other large hilltop cairns, smaller cairns and stone
aligments in the area, 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, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Dartmoor Barrows, , Vol. 36, (1978), 140
Devon County SMR SX66SE-069,

Source: Historic England

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