Ancient Monuments

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Four cairns on Hurley Beacon

A Scheduled Monument in Crowcombe, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.1355 / 51°8'7"N

Longitude: -3.2275 / 3°13'39"W

OS Eastings: 314210.51973

OS Northings: 138076.724175

OS Grid: ST142380

Mapcode National: GBR LW.8L59

Mapcode Global: VH6GY.0QLC

Entry Name: Four cairns on Hurley Beacon

Scheduled Date: 23 June 1975

Last Amended: 17 May 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017218

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32184

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Crowcombe

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Details

The monument, which lies in two separate areas of protection, includes four
Bronze Age cairns located on Hurley Beacon, a promontory in the western region
of the Quantock Hills. Three of the cairns are close to each other on the
summit of the hill and the fourth lies 130m downslope to the south west.
The most impressive of the cairns is known as Hurley Beacon and, due to its
prominent location, it is likely to have been the focus for other cairns in
the area. The mound is approximately 2m high and 24m in diameter. The centre
of the mound has been dug into leaving an irregular depression approximately
6m across and 1m deep. As its name suggests, the cairn has traditionally been
used as a fire beacon. The mounds of the three other cairns range from between
5.5m to 8m in diameter and are an average of 0.5m in height. The cairn located
to the south west of the main core has a shallow depression about 3m long and
2m wide adjacent to its north east side.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

The four cairns on Hurley Beacon survive well as a group, despite some
disturbance of the Hurley Beacon cairn itself, possibly the result of
antiquarian excavation, and will contain archaeological deposits and
environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it
was constructed.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 29
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 29
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 29
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 29
Other
33227, SCPD Quantock Hills AP survey, ST 1437,

Source: Historic England

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