Ancient Monuments

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High Cank, a hengi-form monument 520m north of Up Cerne Manor House

A Scheduled Monument in Up Cerne, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.8273 / 50°49'38"N

Longitude: -2.4879 / 2°29'16"W

OS Eastings: 365733.8536

OS Northings: 103193.892848

OS Grid: ST657031

Mapcode National: GBR MW.X7HD

Mapcode Global: FRA 56PX.6KX

Entry Name: High Cank, a hengi-form monument 520m north of Up Cerne Manor House

Scheduled Date: 30 August 1960

Last Amended: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018413

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31054

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Up Cerne

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Cerne Abbas St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes High Cank, a hengi-form monument, located on the top of
a ridge, 520m north of Up Cerne Manor House.
The monument has an uneven central platform at natural ground level, 10m in
diameter, surrounded by a ditch 2m wide and up to 0.4m deep, with an outer
bank of flint nodules 3m wide and up to 0.4m high. On the eastern side there
is a break in the bank with a corresponding causeway across the ditch, 2m
wide, creating an entrance into the earthwork. Previously, traces of a much
disturbed slight mound were recorded at the centre of the enclosure. This now
appears as a depression, possibly the result of past excavation, 2.7m by 1.6m
and 0.2m deep, surrounded by dumps of upcast soil. The bank on the south
eastern side is abutted by a mound containing a water reservoir which was
constructed in the 1970s.
All fence posts and the water tank are excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath these features is included.

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

Hengi-form monuments are ritual or ceremonial centres closely connected with
burial and dating to the Middle and Late Neolithic periods (3000-2000 BC).
They were constructed as flat, roughly circular enclosures comprising an area
of ground typically between 5m and 20m across enclosed by a ditch with
external bank. One entrance or two opposing entrances through the earthwork
provided access to the interior of the monument which often contained pits,
cremation pits, postholes and graves. Cremation pits and postholes were often
present around the perimeter of the site. They are distinguished from standard
henges by their small size and their more specific association with burial.
Finds from the ditches and interiors of hengi-form monuments provide important
evidence for the chronological development of the sites, the types of activity
that occurred within them and the nature of the environment in which they were
constructed. Most examples are situated on gravel terraces or on hill slopes.
They sometimes occur in pairs or groups of three in close proximity. Hengi-
form monuments are very rare nationally with only 24 examples known, although
this is likely to be an underestimate in view of the difficulties in
recognition. As one of the few types of identified Neolithic structures and in
view of their rarity, all hengi-form monuments are considered to be of
national importance.

Despite some 20th century disturbance, the hengi-form monument 520m north of
Up Cerne Manor House is a well preserved example of its class and will contain
archaeological remains providing information about Neolithic burial practices,
economy and environment.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Royal Commission on Historical Monuments: West Dorset, Volume 1, (1952), 87
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 174

Source: Historic England

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