Ancient Monuments

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A round cairn on Watchet Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Belstone, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.7205 / 50°43'13"N

Longitude: -3.9638 / 3°57'49"W

OS Eastings: 261472.206623

OS Northings: 93042.329822

OS Grid: SX614930

Mapcode National: GBR Q4.WTX4

Mapcode Global: FRA 27L5.MKW

Entry Name: A round cairn on Watchet Hill

Scheduled Date: 18 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017872

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28669

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Belstone

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Belstone St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

The monument includes a round cairn situated on the summit of Watchet Hill.
The cairn survives as a 0.8m high oval shaped mound measuring 16.6m long north
to south by 13.8m wide east to west. A T-shaped trench, the consequence of a
partial early excavation, cuts through the central part of the mound. Adjacent
to the south eastern side of the mound there is a 2.3m wide and 0.2m deep
ditch. This represents the remains of the quarry ditch from which material was
derived during the construction of the cairn. This ditch would have originally
surrounded the mound but now survives largely as a buried feature.

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

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 round cairn on Watchet Hill survives well and
contains archaeological and environmental information relating to this area
during the prehistoric period. Given its prominent location, this cairn must
have also been a significant landmark from the later prehistoric period
onwards.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX69SW72, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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