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Eight cairns forming part of a cairn cemetery on Holne Ridge and a stone alignment immediately west of Horn's Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Holne, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5253 / 50°31'30"N

Longitude: -3.8787 / 3°52'43"W

OS Eastings: 266928.969

OS Northings: 71183.6995

OS Grid: SX669711

Mapcode National: GBR Q8.WCDT

Mapcode Global: FRA 27RN.YJH

Entry Name: Eight cairns forming part of a cairn cemetery on Holne Ridge and a stone alignment immediately west of Horn's Cross

Scheduled Date: 24 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019273

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28770

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 six areas of protection, includes eight cairns
forming part of a cairn cemetery or cairnfield, and a stone alignment,
situated on a gentle north facing slope of Holne Ridge overlooking the valley
of the River Dart. Five cairns are on the east side of the monument. The
northernmost cairn in this area measures 11.7m in diameter and stands up to
0.7m high. A second cairn standing close to this one measures 13.8m in
diameter and 1.3m high. The cairn to the south is of the ring variety and
includes a 2.4m wide and 0.7m high bank surrounding a 11.5m diameter circular
internal area. South of the ring cairn is another round cairn, this one
measuring 5.4m in diameter and 0.6m high. This cairn was excavated by the
Barrow Committee of the Devonshire Association in 1905 and this work revealed
a central pit containing charcoal and burnt bones. The southernmost cairn in
the group measures 3.5m in diameter and up to 0.5m high.
Within the western part of the monument there are three further cairns and
a stone alignment. The stone alignment is at NGR SX66707108 and is associated
with two cairns. The eastern of these measures 7.7m in diameter, stands up to
0.9m high and is surrounded by a 2.2m wide ditch from which material was
quarried during the construction of the mound. The second cairn stands a
short distance north of the alignment and survives as a 3.8m diameter mound
standing up to 0.4m high. The stone alignment is of the double variety
consisting of two rows of stones leading towards the ditched cairn.
The southern row includes at least two upright slabs standing up to 0.8m
high, whilst the northern row is denoted by two smaller stones.
The westernmost cairn in the cemetery includes a 3.5m diameter stoney
mound standing up to 0.2m high in which a cist remains visible. The interior
of the cist is 0.75m square and its western side slab is 1.5m long by 0.4m
thick and 0.9m high.
Most of the cairns within this monument possess hollows or trenches
associated with early investigations, of which only one is documented.

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,
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. Cairnfields are concentrations of three or
more cairns sited within close proximity to one another; they may consist of
burial cairns or cairns built with stone cleared from the land surface
(clearance cairns). Round funerary cairns were constructed during the Bronze
Age (c.2000-700 BC) and consisted of earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes
ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. The
considerable variation in the size of cairnfields and their 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.

Despite partial excavation of all but one mound, the eight cairns forming part
of a cairn cemetery, and stone alignment immediately west of Horn's Cross
survive well and contain important archaeological and environmental
information relating to the construction and use of the monument and the
landscape in which it was built. The ring cairn is one of only 250-500 known
examples nationally, while the alignment is one of some 80 examples on
Dartmoor, these providing over half of the national population.
These cairns, together with the stone alignment form part of a group of
visually impressive cairns situated on high ground overlooking the best
preserved Bronze Age coaxial field system on the Moor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 195
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 194-5
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 195
MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1999)

Source: Historic England

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