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Two cairns with two cists and a stone hut circle on the east facing slope of Lakehead Hill forming part of a ritual complex

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5807 / 50°34'50"N

Longitude: -3.9122 / 3°54'44"W

OS Eastings: 264708.9578

OS Northings: 77403.0505

OS Grid: SX647774

Mapcode National: GBR Q7.KW7Z

Mapcode Global: FRA 27PJ.PMW

Entry Name: Two cairns with two cists and a stone hut circle on the east facing slope of Lakehead Hill forming part of a ritual complex

Scheduled Date: 21 May 1974

Last Amended: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018511

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28688

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 three areas of protection, includes two cairns,
each with a cist and a stone hut circle lying on a gentle east facing slope on
Lakehead Hill. The northern cairn survives as an 18m diameter mound standing
up to 0.6m high. On the eastern, western and southern sides of the mound
several edge set stones indicate the presence of a kerb. The profile of the
mound may suggest the survival of an inner ring bank, although this may be the
result of partial early excavation or robbing. The centre of the mound has
certainly been disturbed and in one of the resultant hollows there is a
substantial cist, denoted by two edge slabs standing 0.75m apart and up to
0.95m high.
The southern cairn survives as a small 4.5m diameter mound standing up to
0.2m high. In the centre of the cairn is a three sided cist, orientated NNW
to SSE, measuring internally 1.1m long by 0.75m wide and 0.42m deep. When this
cist was part excavated in 1914 by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee a pit
containing charcoal was found.
The stone hut circle survives as a 4.4m diameter circular area surrounded by
a 1.6m wide orthostatic wall standing up to 0.4m high. A south facing gap in
the surrounding wall may represent a doorway. This building was part excavated
by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1896, and amongst the finds were
charcoal, three flint flakes and Bronze Age pottery sherds.

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.

As well as the round cairns within this ritual complex on Lakehead Hill, there
are two stone alignments and at least three cists. Together with other
funerary sites in the vicinity, this area contains considerable evidence for
ritual activity in this part of Bronze Age Dartmoor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 51
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The Second Millennium B.C.' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 5, (1997), 184
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX67NW30, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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