Ancient Monuments

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Lake Down cairnfield 810m ESE and 780m east of Lake Viaduct

A Scheduled Monument in Sourton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6803 / 50°40'49"N

Longitude: -4.066 / 4°3'57"W

OS Eastings: 254134.887819

OS Northings: 88776.410259

OS Grid: SX541887

Mapcode National: GBR NZ.6KFN

Mapcode Global: FRA 27C8.XDZ

Entry Name: Lake Down cairnfield 810m ESE and 780m east of Lake Viaduct

Scheduled Date: 19 February 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019584

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24052

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Sourton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Sourton

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument, which falls into two areas of protection, includes 12 cairns
situated on a narrow natural terrace on a steep west-facing slope overlooking
west Devon. Ten of the mounds are sub-circular in shape and these range in
size from 2m to 6.3m in diameter and stand between 0.4m and 1.2m high. The
remaining two are ovoid in shape, and these measure 6m long, 3m wide and stand
up to 0.6m high. The average height of all the mounds is 0.64m. One cairn has
a shallow hollow in the centre of the mound, suggesting robbing or partial
excavation. Some of the cairns may contain burials, but the group most likely
represents stone clearance connected with cultivation of the area.

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.

Lake Down cairnfield 810m ESE and 780m east of Lake Viaduct survives well and
contains archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument
and the landscape in which it was constructed. It provides a valuable insight
into Bronze Age agricultural activity on the western side of the Moor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 151
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58NW50,
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
MPP fieldwork by S.Gerrard,

Source: Historic England

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