Ancient Monuments

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Platform cairn and cist 80m south east of Calveslake Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Sheepstor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4912 / 50°29'28"N

Longitude: -3.9627 / 3°57'45"W

OS Eastings: 260872.252368

OS Northings: 67546.49447

OS Grid: SX608675

Mapcode National: GBR Q5.CFVX

Mapcode Global: FRA 27LR.N08

Entry Name: Platform cairn and cist 80m south east of Calveslake Tor

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015739

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10706

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Sheepstor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes a platform cairn containing a cist, situated on a north
west-facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Plym. The cairn and
cist form part of a dispersed group of funerary monuments. The cairn mound
measures 7m in diameter, stands up to 1m high and is surrounded by a berm 2m
wide and 0.3m high. The cairn has been excavated to reveal a cist orientated
north west to south east, although its northern side is still partially
covered by a large cover slab, which measures 1.9m long by 1.2m wide. The
interior of the cist measures 1.1m long, is 0.53m in width at the south east
end, tapering to 0.5m wide at the north west end. A fine tanged arrowhead,
three flint flakes and a quartz crystal were found during excavation in 1899.
The edge of the cairn is denoted on part of the western side by edge set
stones, indicating the presence of a kerb which may survive elsewhere as a
buried feature.
The area surrounding the monument may contain further archaeological features
and deposits, but these are not included because they are not visible and
cannot therefore be accurately mapped or assessed.

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 provide 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. Platform cairns are funerary
monuments covering single or multiple burials and dating to the Early Bronze
Age (c.2000-1600 BC). They were constructed as low flat-topped mounds of stone
rubble up to 40m in external diameter. Some examples have other features,
including peripheral banks and internal mounds, constructed on this platform.
A kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edges of the platform, bank or
mound, or all three. Platform cairns occur as isolated monuments, in small
groups, or in cairn cemeteries. In the latter instances they are normally
found alongside cairns of other types. Although no precise figure is
available, current evidence indicates that there are under 250 known examples
of this monument class nationally. As a rare monument type exhibiting
considerable variation in form, a substantial proportion of surviving examples
are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite partial excavation, the platform cairn and cist 80m south east of
Calveslake Tor survives well, forms part of a discrete group of cairns and
contains archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument
and the landscape in which it was constructed. Platform cairns are relatively
rare on Dartmoor, and this one forms part of a well preserved, extensive and
complex archaeological landscape.

Source: Historic England


Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory

Source: Historic England

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