Ancient Monuments

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Two cairns 720m and 800m east of Higher White Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5915 / 50°35'29"N

Longitude: -3.9411 / 3°56'27"W

OS Eastings: 262700.9143

OS Northings: 78656.9725

OS Grid: SX627786

Mapcode National: GBR Q6.C1FX

Mapcode Global: FRA 27MH.QG5

Entry Name: Two cairns 720m and 800m east of Higher White Tor

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016636

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28719

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Widecombe-in-the-Moor St Pancras

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes two round cairns situated
on a south facing slope overlooking the valley of the Cherry Brook. The
western cairn survives as a 7.7m diameter and 0.8m high mound with a number of
edge set stones around the southern perimeter which indicate the presence of a
kerb, which survives elsewhere as a buried feature. The second cairn lies 90m
to the south east and survives as a 10m diameter and 1.3m high mound
surrounded by a stone kerb. Both mounds were excavated by the Dartmoor
Exploration Committee in 1900 and this work revealed charcoal filled pits cut
into the original ground surface beneath the cairns. The pit under the
eastern cairn also contained some burnt bone. The hollows visible in the
centre of each mound are the result of this investigation as is a small spoil
dump adjacent to the western mound.

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. 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. They are
particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one
of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south-
western Britain.

Despite partial excavation, the two round cairns 720m and 800m east of Higher
White Tor survive comparatively well and contain archaeological and
environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which
they were built. The survival of the kerbs suggests that significant
structural information also survives in these mounds.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX67NW4, (1994)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX67NW5, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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