Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round cairn 560m south east of Little Staple Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Whitchurch, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5555 / 50°33'19"N

Longitude: -4.0604 / 4°3'37"W

OS Eastings: 254141.089

OS Northings: 74887.234

OS Grid: SX541748

Mapcode National: GBR Q0.GDVG

Mapcode Global: FRA 27CL.RXJ

Entry Name: Round cairn 560m south east of Little Staple Tor

Scheduled Date: 7 March 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020001

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22346

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Whitchurch

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


The monument includes a cairn situated on a gentle south facing slope on
Whitchurch Common overlooking the valley of the River Walkham. The cairn
measures 6m in diameter and stands up to 0.9m high. A number of large stones
protrude through the surface of the mound, which appears to be intact having
escaped antiquarian investigation.
This monument sits within an extensive coaxial field system which extends
over much of Whitchurch Common and the slopes of Cox Tor. Parts of this field
system and other associated remains are the subject of separate schedulings.

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.

The round cairn 560m south east of Little Staple Tor survives well and will
contain environmental and archaeological information relating to the monument
and the landscape in which it was constructed. This monument lies within a
coaxial field system and forms part of a particularly well-preserved
palimpsest on Whitchurch Common, containing abundant evidence for the use of
the area in both prehistoric and historic times.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 34

Source: Historic England

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