Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairn on Sharp Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Harford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4404 / 50°26'25"N

Longitude: -3.9025 / 3°54'8"W

OS Eastings: 264999.669396

OS Northings: 61785.335301

OS Grid: SX649617

Mapcode National: GBR Q7.VR9H

Mapcode Global: FRA 27QW.MGG

Entry Name: Cairn on Sharp Tor

Scheduled Date: 7 October 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013091

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10538

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. 2500-500 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 surrounding ditch.
This large cairn close to the summit of Sharp Tor is 25m in diameter
and approximately 1.8m. high. It is built of stones on an earth and stone
base the circumference of which projects beyond the stones. Rushes and other
vegetation suggest the presence of a ditch around the mound.

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.
Sharp Tor cairn is a well-preserved example, with waterlogging potential and
occupies a prominent position on the brow of the tor. It continues the series
of large, probably high status, cairns of similar construction on hilltops
along the eastern side of the Erme Valley. Its relationship to other
monuments of the same type 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
Worth, R H, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Twenty-First Report of the Barrow Committee, , Vol. 34, (1902), 139

Source: Historic England

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