Ancient Monuments

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Lanacombe 3: a stone setting and cairn on the east side of Lanacombe

A Scheduled Monument in Exmoor, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1733 / 51°10'23"N

Longitude: -3.7375 / 3°44'14"W

OS Eastings: 278632.89523

OS Northings: 142996.066713

OS Grid: SS786429

Mapcode National: GBR L5.68ZJ

Mapcode Global: VH5K0.5RHX

Entry Name: Lanacombe 3: a stone setting and cairn on the east side of Lanacombe

Scheduled Date: 28 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014275

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25203

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Exmoor

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes four standing stones, two recumbent stones, a cairn and
the archaeologically sensitive areas between and around the features. The site
is located on the south east facing slope of Lanacombe. The stones are set out
in an apparently random manner with the cairn at the south eastern edge of the
site which extends for 0.04ha. The standing stones are between 200mm and 500mm
high, 150mm to 600mm wide and 50mm to 150mm thick. The two recumbent stones
lie on the northern edge of the group. The north westernmost stone is 1m long
by 600mm wide while the south easternmost is 850mm long by 200mm wide. The
largest and most northerly of these two stones has three separate inscriptions
on its upper face. The largest of these is a broadly cut letter V over the
central apex of the letter W which in turn is over the letter O. The second
inscription comprises a thinly incised vertical bar, with short horizontal
lines across the top, centre and bottom, which lies next to a letter C. The
third inscription is a similar, thinly incised letter T. These inscriptions
post date the construction and main period of use of the monument. The cairn
lies on the downslope side of the site and is 4m in diameter and 300mm high.

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

Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south
western peninsula of England. In contrast to the other two areas, Dartmoor and
Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little
excavation of its monuments. However, survey work has confirmed a comparable
richness of archaeological remains with evidence of human exploitation and
occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day. The well-preserved
and often visible relationships between settlement sites, major land
boundaries, trackways and ceremonial and funerary monuments give insight into
successive changes in the pattern of land-use through time.
Stone settings consist of a group of standing stones set out in an irregular
or random pattern. There are a number of such sites on Exmoor where they
appear to be a regional variation of the more common stone alignments. Stone
settings are often sited close to prehistoric burial monuments, such as small
cairns and cists, and to ritual monuments, such as stone circles, and are
therefore considered to have had an important ceremonial function. Stone
settings were being constructed and used from the Late Neolithic period to the
Middle Bronze Age (c.2500-1000 BC) and provide rare evidence of ceremonial and
ritual practices during these periods. Due to their rarity and longevity as a
monument type all surviving examples are considered to be of national

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or
multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined
compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch.
Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the
modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are
the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation
amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative
of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.
The Lanacombe 3 stone setting and cairn survive well and retain archaeological
and environmental evidence relating to the construction and use of the
monument. In particular, the buried soil of the cairn will retain
palaeoenvironmental and dating evidence. The importance of the Lanacombe 3
stone setting is enhanced by being part of a linear group of five similar

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Quinnell, N V, Dunn, C J, Lithic Monuments within the Exmoor National Park: A New Survey, (1992), 45
Quinnell, N V, Dunn, C J, Lithic Monuments within the Exmoor National Park: A New Survey, (1992), 45
McDonnell, R R J, (1993)
Title: Gray`s Ordnance Survey 6" Map sheet 33 SW
Source Date: 1905

Source: Historic England

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