Ancient Monuments

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Tor cairn 60m south east of Down Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Sheepstor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5069 / 50°30'24"N

Longitude: -4.0027 / 4°0'9"W

OS Eastings: 258086.890336

OS Northings: 69366.64753

OS Grid: SX580693

Mapcode National: GBR Q2.YHNC

Mapcode Global: FRA 27HQ.JF7

Entry Name: Tor cairn 60m south east of Down Tor

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019573

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24112

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Sheepstor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


The monument includes a tor cairn situated on a gentle south east facing slope
overlooking the Narrator Brook. The cairn survives as a horseshoe shaped band
of edge set stones leading from a large granite outcrop. The northern side of
the cairn includes two parallel lines of edge set stones extending for 4.3m
from the granite outcrop. Both of these lines are formed by at least ten
stones and stand up to 0.4m high. The southern side of the cairn is denoted
by nine stones set on top of a large granite boulder. The area enclosed by the
cairn bank measures 6m wide at the western side, 2.8m wide at the east and up
to 4.3m long from east to west.

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 provides 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.
Tor cairns are ceremonial monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age
(c.2000-1000 BC). They were constructed as ring banks of stone rubble, up to
35m in external diameter, sometimes with entrances and external ditches, and
roughly concentric around natural outcrops or tors. In some cases a kerb of
edge-set stones bounded the inner edge of the bank, and the area between the
bank and the outcrop was sometimes in-filled by laying down a platform of
stone rubble or turves. Excavated examples have revealed post-holes and pits
within the area defined by the ring-bank, some containing burial evidence, and
scatters of Bronze Age artefacts concentrated around the central tor. Tor
cairns usually occur as isolated monuments, though several are associated with
broadly contemporary cairn cemeteries. They are very rare nationally with only
40-50 known examples concentrated on the higher moors of Devon and Cornwall,
where their situation in prominent locations makes them a major visual element
in the modern landscape. As a rare monument type, all surviving examples are
considered worthy of preservation.

The tor cairn 60m south east of Down Tor survives well and is one of a very
small number of known examples on Dartmoor where the ring banks are attached
to the face of a tor or substantial rock. Archaeological and environmental
information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was erected
survives within this cairn, which is situated in a prominent position
overlooking substantial tracts of the Moor.

Source: Historic England


Hooley, D, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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