Ancient Monuments

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A ring cairn 700m south east of Runnage Bridge, on the southern side of Soussons Down

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5929 / 50°35'34"N

Longitude: -3.8732 / 3°52'23"W

OS Eastings: 267510.914248

OS Northings: 78691.947502

OS Grid: SX675786

Mapcode National: GBR Q9.Y0TH

Mapcode Global: FRA 27SH.LWT

Entry Name: A ring cairn 700m south east of Runnage Bridge, on the southern side of Soussons Down

Scheduled Date: 25 October 1963

Last Amended: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018789

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28695

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Manaton St Winifred

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a ring cairn situated on a ridge overlooking the valleys
of the East Dart and West Webburn Rivers. The cairn survives as a an 8.6m
diameter ring of at least 22 edge set stones standing up to 0.85m high. In
the centre of the cairn is a NNW to SSE orientated cist, with both side stones
remaining visible. This cist measures at least 1.3m long by 0.5m wide and
when excavated in 1903 two coils of human hair were found.

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.

Despite partial excavation and ritual reuse, the ring cairn 700m south east of
Runnage Bridge, on the southern side of Soussons Down survives well and
contains archaeological information relating to the monument and the
environment in which it was constructed. Its position on a ridge suggests that
it is likely to have also served as a territorial marker. The cairn is very
obvious from the nearby road and as a result is a popular visitor destination.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 20

Source: Historic England

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