Ancient Monuments

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Four cairns on Holne Lee 1140m north west of Greatcombe

A Scheduled Monument in Holne, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5142 / 50°30'51"N

Longitude: -3.854 / 3°51'14"W

OS Eastings: 268650.4429

OS Northings: 69907.8679

OS Grid: SX686699

Mapcode National: GBR QB.35Q3

Mapcode Global: FRA 27TP.VRH

Entry Name: Four cairns on Holne Lee 1140m north west of Greatcombe

Scheduled Date: 24 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019268

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28764

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Holne

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Holne St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument, which falls into four areas of protection, includes four cairns
situated on a gentle east facing slope on Holne Lee overlooking the valley of
the River Dart. The northern example is a ring cairn and survives as a 1.8m
wide by 0.4m high rubble bank surrounding an internal area measuring 4.8m in
diameter. A short distance to the south west is a second ring cairn. This
survives as a 4m wide and 0.8m high rubble bank surrounding a 12.5m diameter
internal area. The southernmost cairn survives as a 19m diameter and 1.3m high
mound, while to the north of this cairn is a 5m diameter and 0.3m high stoney
mound. Hollows and trenches cutting into all four cairns indicate that they
have been subjected to early undocumented investigations.

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 four cairns on Holne Lee 1140m north west of
Greatcombe survive well and contain important archaeological and environmental
information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was built.
With two types of cairn present, this group of funerary sites will contain
contrasting information concerning burial practices. Ring cairns are
relatively rare, with between 250 and 500 known examples nationally.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66NE118, (1985)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66NE129, (1985)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66NE24, (1985)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66NE25, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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