Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield and two stone hut circles 490m and 550m south west of Cox Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Whitchurch, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5627 / 50°33'45"N

Longitude: -4.0802 / 4°4'48"W

OS Eastings: 252764.582692

OS Northings: 75722.10651

OS Grid: SX527757

Mapcode National: GBR NZ.FV3B

Mapcode Global: FRA 27BL.47T

Entry Name: Cairnfield and two stone hut circles 490m and 550m south west of Cox Tor

Scheduled Date: 11 December 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020004

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22364

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Whitchurch

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


The monument, which falls into two areas of protection, includes a cairnfield
and two stone hut circles situated on a gentle south west facing slope of Cox
Tor, overlooking much of West Devon and East Cornwall. The cairnfield includes
a cluster of at least 13 mounds varying in diameter between 4.2m and 9.5m. The
cairns stand between 0.3m and 1m high and six of them have been robbed or
partially excavated.
The stone hut circles survive as rubble banks each surrounding a circular
internal area. The interior of the western stone hut circle measures 6m in
diameter and is denoted by a 1.7m wide earthwork standing up to 0.3m high. The
eastern hut, which lies in the second area of protection, measures 6.5m in
diameter and is surrounded by a 1.5m wide rubble bank standing up to 0.6m
This monument sits within an extensive coaxial field system which extends
over much of Whitchurch Common and the slopes of Cox Tor. This field system is
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,
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.

The two hut circles represent dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on
Dartmoor. Examples mostly date from the Bronze Age, with the earliest
examples dating to about 1700 BC. Although they are common on the Moor, their
longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide information
on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst
prehistoric communities.
The cairnfield and two stone hut circles 490m and 550m south west of Cox Tor
survive well and together with an associated coaxial field system forms part
of a particularly well-preserved palimpsest on the lower slopes of Cox Tor,
containing abundant evidence for the use of the area in both prehistoric and
historic times.

Source: Historic England


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (2000)
Title: Cox Tor Survey
Source Date: 1991
1:2500 plan

Source: Historic England

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