Ancient Monuments

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Cairn on Thorncombe Hill, 990m north west of Halsway Post

A Scheduled Monument in Bicknoller, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1446 / 51°8'40"N

Longitude: -3.242 / 3°14'31"W

OS Eastings: 313211.878384

OS Northings: 139104.750141

OS Grid: ST132391

Mapcode National: GBR LV.82H6

Mapcode Global: VH6GX.RHFD

Entry Name: Cairn on Thorncombe Hill, 990m north west of Halsway Post

Scheduled Date: 18 September 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015080

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29353

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Bicknoller

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a cairn on the south facing skyline of Thorncombe Hill
on the sandstone ridge of the Quantocks.
The cairn is slightly oval in appearance, probably due to its western third
being subject to erosion from a main trackway.
The mound measures 11.6m north-south, 10.7m east-west, and stands up to 0.7m
high. A 1.5m sub-circular depression in the top of the mound indicates
possible antiquarian disturbance.
The cairn was noted by L V Grinsell in 1961.

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

The area of the Quantock Hills, although small in extent, is one of the few
remaining expanses of open moorland in southern Britain. Its archaeological
importance lies in the existence of a landscape displaying examples of
monuments tracing the exploitation of the hills from the Bronze Age onwards.
Well-preserved monuments from the Bronze Age and Iron Age, including round
barrows, cairns, settlements, hillforts and a trackway, as well as later
industrial remains, give insights into changes in the pattern of land use on
the hills through time. These earthwork features are one of the key components
of the Quantocks' broader landscape character.
Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter
predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally
available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and
are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. 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. Twelve round cairns have been recorded
on the Quantocks, although the original figure is likely to have been higher.
They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial
proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Two thirds of the round cairn on the south facing skyline of Thorncombe Hill
is well preserved. Despite evidence of disturbance to and erosion of the
mound, the cairn will contain archaeological and environmental evidence
relating to the structure and period of construction.

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), 27

Source: Historic England

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