Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairn north-west of Butterdon Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Harford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4137 / 50°24'49"N

Longitude: -3.8959 / 3°53'45"W

OS Eastings: 265390.508812

OS Northings: 58809.722166

OS Grid: SX653588

Mapcode National: GBR Q9.3DYP

Mapcode Global: FRA 27QY.Q1T

Entry Name: Cairn north-west of Butterdon Hill

Scheduled Date: 7 October 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013317

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10535

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 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, north-west of Butterdon Hill, has a mound of stones built on a
stone and earth base the circumference of which projects beyond the stones.
It is 15 m. in diameter and 1 m. high. It is one of a series of large
examples along the ridge between Butterdon Hill and Weatherdon Hill.

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 large cairn, north of Butterdon Hill, is a well-preserved example and
occupies a prominent position on the brow of a hill, forming part of a
series of large, probably high status, cairns of similar construction on
hilltops along the eastern side of the Erme Valley. Its relationship with
other cairns 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, 'Proc. Devon Arch. Soc.' in Dartmoor Barrows (0305 5795), , Vol. 36, (1978), 141

Source: Historic England

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