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Prehistoric cairns and field boundary 450m south of the Louden Stone Circle

A Scheduled Monument in St. Breward, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5811 / 50°34'52"N

Longitude: -4.6394 / 4°38'22"W

OS Eastings: 213230.995826

OS Northings: 79035.649908

OS Grid: SX132790

Mapcode National: GBR N6.DN46

Mapcode Global: FRA 175J.GD0

Entry Name: Prehistoric cairns and field boundary 450m south of the Louden Stone Circle

Scheduled Date: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019886

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15551

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Breward

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Breward

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The scheduling includes three prehistoric funerary cairns and an adjacent
prehistoric field boundary on top of a low ridge linking Louden Hill with King
Arthur's Downs on north western Bodmin Moor. In their wider context, these
cairns lie at the southern limit of a focus of prehistoric funerary and ritual
monuments which extends, beyond this scheduling, across the south of the
Louden Hill ridge.
The cairns survive as turf-covered rubble mounds variously incorporating
exposed slabs of kerbing and/or a box-like funerary structure called a cist.
They are arranged in a triangular grouping: to the south west, two cairns are
centred 15.5m apart north west-south east, with the third located 42m to their
north east. All show limited disturbance from unrecorded antiquarian
The cairn to the north east is a kerbed platform cairn with a sub-circular
mound up to 5.9m across and 0.4m high, rising to a flattened upper platform
3.4m WNW-ESE by 3.05m NNE-SSW. The platform is defined by a near-continuous
kerb of 16 edge-set slabs up to 0.25m high and 0.25m-0.8m wide. Within the
kerb the flattened surface is interrupted at its centre by the oblong trench
of an antiquarian excavation, 1.8m long, WNW-ESE, 1.45m wide and 0.25m deep. A
low ridge of spoil from this trench extends down the SSE slope of the mound
beyond the kerb.
The north western of the cairns is also a kerbed platform cairn whose shallow-
domed mound, 10m north-south by 9.75m east-west, rises to 0.5m high to a
flattened platform defined by intermittent remains of a kerb about 7m in
diameter. The kerb retains two closely spaced edge-set slabs measuring up to
0.3m high on the north east side, although elsewhere it appears slighted,
leaving a line of small flat slabs exposed on the south east and south sides
with well-spaced larger slabs on the south west and west sides. Within the
kerb, the platform periphery is clear around the south side but beyond this
its flattened surface is affected by an antiquarian excavation whose trench,
up to 1.75m wide, extends east-west across the north of the platform,
accompanied by an irregular spoil heap dumped onto the platform mostly south
of the trench. Near the centre of the trench floor, an oblong depression 2m
long by 1.5m wide is considered to mark the former site of a funerary cist
whose large covering slab, 1.15m long, 0.75m wide and 0.2m thick, lies
displaced to the south on top of the spoil mound.
The third cairn, on the south west side of the group, is a small round cairn,
visible as a shallow rounded mound 6.5m north east-south west by 6m north
west-south east and up to 0.4m high. At the centre of the mound are the
exposed upper edges of two adjacent edge-set slabs, 0.7m long in combined
length and considered to mark one side of a funerary cist. Crossing the mound
north of centre is the north east-south west hollow of an antiquarian
excavation trench, 0.9m wide and up to 0.25m deep; a second slighter hollow,
0.1m deep, passes north-south over the west of the mound and is considered to
derive from a relatively recent moorland path.
The prehistoric field boundary curves north east from 3.8m north of the kerbed
platform cairn in the south west section of the cairn group. Visible over 25m,
it initially heads north from the cairn then curves north east and eventually
east. Where least disturbed it survives as a rubble bank 2m wide and up to
0.25m high, but before truncation as a visible feature at each end it becomes
increasingly spread wider and lower. Beyond this scheduling to the north are
occasional further fragments of walling from an early phase of prehistoric
irregular field system which survives more completely over the slopes of
Louden Hill where the field system is demonstrably earlier than the
prehistoric cairn which overlies and robs parts of its walling. A similar
relationship is indicated in this scheduling by the short gap between the
boundary and the kerbed platform cairn on its alignment to the south.

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

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been
recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The
Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the
best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of
prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human
exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The
well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field
systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains
provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land
use through time.

Platform cairns and round cairns are funerary monuments covering single or
multiple burials and dating to the Bronze Age (about 2000-700 BC). They were
constructed as mounds of earth and stone rubble up to 40m in external diameter
but usually considerably smaller. In round cairns the mound has a domed
profile whereas in platform cairns it rises to a flattened upper surface
occupying a substantial proportion of the mound's overall area. A kerb of
edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edges of the mound, platform or both.
Round cairns and platform cairns can occur as isolated monuments, in small
groups or in larger cemeteries, often containing cairns of various types.
Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provides
important information on the diversity of beliefs, burial practices and social
organisation in the Bronze Age. They are particularly representative of their
period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of preservation.
The platform and round cairns 450m south of Louden Hill survive reasonably
well. Despite the limited attentions of antiquarian excavators, each retains
clear evidence for its form and main structural components, and each will
preserve the old land surface beneath, along with any structural remains and
features within it. The setting of these cairns, peripheral to a focus of
prehistoric funerary and ritual monuments over the south of Louden Hill,
provides important insights into the physical organisation of ritual activity
among prehistoric communities and the influence upon it of the setting of the
The relationship between the prehistoric field boundary and the cairn group in
this scheduling, particularly the south western cairn by which it is robbed,
adds valuable and rare evidence for the development of later Neolithic and
Early Bronze Age land use.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Johnson, N, Rose, P, 'The Human Landscape to c 1800' in Bodmin Moor An Archaeological Survey, , Vol. 1, (1994)
Trahair, J E R, 'Cornish Archaeology' in A survey of cairns on Bodmin Moor, (1978), 3-24
Trahair, J E R, 'Cornish Archaeology' in A survey of cairns on Bodmin Moor, (1978), 3-24
CAU Bodmin Moor Survey Archive, Sharpe A & Gerrard G A M, Field Survey Record Card for Louden Context 169, (1984)
CAU Bodmin Moor Survey archive, Sharpe A & Gerrard G A M, Field Survey Record Card for Louden Context 169, (1984)
CAU Bodmin Moor Survey archive, Sharpe A & Gerrard G A M, Field Survey Record Card for Louden Context 170, (1984)
CAU, Cornwall SMR entry PRN 1981.1,
CAU, Cornwall SMR entry PRN 1981.2,
Cornwall SMR paper record, CCRA, CCRA Sites & Monuments Register Entry SX 17 NW/22,
Cornwall SMR paper record, CCRA, CCRA Sites & Monuments Register Entry SX 17 NW/22/1,
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map SX 17 NW
Source Date: 1983

Source: Historic England

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