Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Ring cairn on West Hill

A Scheduled Monument in East Quantoxhead, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1667 / 51°10'0"N

Longitude: -3.2553 / 3°15'19"W

OS Eastings: 312327.172394

OS Northings: 141573.476244

OS Grid: ST123415

Mapcode National: GBR LT.6R4C

Mapcode Global: VH6GQ.JYF0

Entry Name: Ring cairn on West Hill

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1976

Last Amended: 9 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014121

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22078

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: East Quantoxhead

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a ring cairn just below the crest of West Hill at the
north west end of the Quantocks.
The cairn has a central stony area with a higher surrounding rim. The cairn
has a total diameter of 15.3m. The surrounding rim is c.0.75m high and is
between 2.5m and 3.5m wide.
A c.2.5m diameter depression 0.6m deep in the centre of the cairn is
indicative of antiquarian investigation.

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

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of
stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may
be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small
uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of
England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by fieldwork and ground
level survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial
photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples.
Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are
interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact
nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has
revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and
pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial
rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the
number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available
evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a
relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form,
all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological
deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite partial excavation, the ring cairn on West Hill survives well and will
contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the
cairn and the landscape in which it was constructed.
This is one of around twenty prehistoric cairns recorded on the Quantocks.
Other prehistoric monuments recorded in the area include round barrows,
settlements, hillforts and a trackway.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Smerset Archaeological and Nat.Hist Society' in Somerset Barrows Part 1, , Vol. 113, (1969), 30

Source: Historic England

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