Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round cairn 620m south east of Challacombe Cross

A Scheduled Monument in North Bovey, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6284 / 50°37'42"N

Longitude: -3.841 / 3°50'27"W

OS Eastings: 269881.325822

OS Northings: 82582.887822

OS Grid: SX698825

Mapcode National: GBR QC.1WJW

Mapcode Global: FRA 27VD.TMV

Entry Name: Round cairn 620m south east of Challacombe Cross

Scheduled Date: 11 December 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019998

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34431

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 round cairn situated on the gentle north east facing
slope of a prominent ridge overlooking the valley of the River Bovey on
Shapley Common. The cairn forms part of a discrete cluster of mounds situated
along this prominent ridge. This cairn includes a 7.3m diameter mound standing
up to 1.1m high. In the centre of the cairn is a 2.7m diameter and 0.6m deep
circular hollow which represents the site of a partial early excavation.

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. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary
monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain
where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may
cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer
ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in
the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and 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. Dartmoor provides one
of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south-
western Britain.

Despite partial early excavation, the round cairn 620m south east of
Challacombe Cross survives comparatively well and lies within a coaxial field
system. Together these represent components 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
situated 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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