Ancient Monuments

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Two round cairns on the northern slope of Metheral Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Belstone, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6942 / 50°41'38"N

Longitude: -3.948 / 3°56'52"W

OS Eastings: 262509.095397

OS Northings: 90088.441725

OS Grid: SX625900

Mapcode National: GBR Q4.YRN0

Mapcode Global: FRA 27M7.MRQ

Entry Name: Two round cairns on the northern slope of Metheral Hill

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016642

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28725

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Belstone

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: South Tawton St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes two round cairns situated
on a north facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Taw. The eastern
cairn survives as an 8m diameter and 0.9m high mound. The western cairn lies
40.5m to the west and survives as a 5m diameter and 0.65m high mound denoted
on the south by an edge set stone which probably represents a kerb which
survives elsewhere as a buried feature. Neither mound has been robbed or
investigated using destructive methods.

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.

The two round cairns on the northern slope of Metheral Hill survive 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. These mounds lie close to a broadly contemporary territorial reave and
overlook a large settlement complex. Their prominent position also suggests
that they may have also been territorial markers.

Source: Historic England


MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1998)

Source: Historic England

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