Ancient Monuments

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Kerbed cairn and cist 635m south west of The Grey Wethers

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6275 / 50°37'39"N

Longitude: -3.9318 / 3°55'54"W

OS Eastings: 263460.759

OS Northings: 82650

OS Grid: SX634826

Mapcode National: GBR Q6.8XFB

Mapcode Global: FRA 27ND.VDH

Entry Name: Kerbed cairn and cist 635m south west of The Grey Wethers

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018711

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28685

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 includes a kerbed cairn and cist lying on a south facing slope of
Sittaford Tor overlooking the valley of the East Dart River. The cairn
survives as two partial concentric rings of edge set stones standing up to
0.75m high, enclosing a mound measuring 0.2m high. The inner ring has a
diameter of 2.8m and the outer one is 5m in diameter. Within the inner ring,
a large recumbent slab aligned NNW to SSE, measuring 1.6m long by 0.25m wide
may represent the coverstone of an intact cist.

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. A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual
monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter
surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and
sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring
cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered
and authenticated by ground level fieldwork and survey, although a few are
large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or
small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow
cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and
Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully
understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and
others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities
associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been
surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately
known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and
500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable
variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant
archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

The kerbed cairn and cist 635m south west of The Grey Wethers survives well
and forms an outlying part of a notable ritual area centred around the stone
circles known as The Grey Wethers. The presence of a possible intact cist
together with two well preserved kerbs indicates that important archaeological
and related environmental information survives within this monument. In
broader terms the monument also provides a valuable insight into Bronze Age
funerary and ritual activity as well as providing information concerning
territorial control on the Moor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The Second Millennium B.C.' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 5, (1997), 183

Source: Historic England

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