Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Platform cairn 370m south east of Challacombe Cross

A Scheduled Monument in North Bovey, Devon

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Latitude: 50.63 / 50°37'48"N

Longitude: -3.8438 / 3°50'37"W

OS Eastings: 269692.060498

OS Northings: 82769.575

OS Grid: SX696827

Mapcode National: GBR QC.1NBH

Mapcode Global: FRA 27VD.LCT

Entry Name: Platform cairn 370m south east of Challacombe Cross

Scheduled Date: 11 December 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019997

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34430

County: Devon

Civil Parish: North Bovey

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: North Bovey St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a platform cairn situated on the gentle north facing
slope of a prominent ridge overlooking the valley of the Green Combe on
Shapley Common. The cairn forms part of a discrete cluster of mounds situated
along this prominent ridge. This cairn includes a 12m diameter circular
platform standing 0.2m high, in the centre of which stands an 8m diameter
mound measuring up to 0.8m high.

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. Platform cairns are funerary
monuments covering single or multiple burials and dating to the Early Bronze
Age (c.2000-1600 BC). They were constructed as low flat-topped mounds of stone
rubble up to 40m in external diameter. Some examples have other features,
including peripheral banks and internal mounds, constructed on this platform.
A kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edges of the platform, bank or
mound, or all three. Platform cairns occur as isolated monuments, in small
groups, or in cairn cemeteries. In the latter instances they are normally
found alongside cairns of other types. Although no precise figure is
available, current evidence indicates that there are under 250 known examples
of this monument class nationally. As a rare monument type exhibiting
considerable variation in form, a substantial proportion of surviving examples
are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite historic damage caused by burrowing animals, the platform cairn 370m
south east of Challacombe Cross survives well and contains archaeological and
environmental information relating to this area during the prehistoric period.
This monument lies within a coaxial field system and forms part of a well-
preserved palimpsest on Shapley Common containing abundant evidence for the
use of the area in both prehistoric and historic times.
This cairn is one of a cluster of large cairns situtated in a prominent
position within this part of Dartmoor. It is considered that as a group they
formed significant territorial markers.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 111

Source: Historic England

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