Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairn on Chagford Common 320m west of West Vitifer Mine

A Scheduled Monument in Chagford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6298 / 50°37'47"N

Longitude: -3.8738 / 3°52'25"W

OS Eastings: 267571.012463

OS Northings: 82799.682401

OS Grid: SX675827

Mapcode National: GBR Q9.VLNF

Mapcode Global: FRA 27SD.LNP

Entry Name: Cairn on Chagford Common 320m west of West Vitifer Mine

Scheduled Date: 7 October 1976

Last Amended: 9 February 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020040

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28747

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Chagford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Chagford St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a round cairn situated on a gentle north east facing
slope on Hurston Ridge overlooking the valley of the North Walla Brook. The
cairn measures 6m in diameter, stands up to 0.7m high and was partially
excavated in 1897 by the Barrow Committee of the Devonshire Association. This
work revealed a ring of slabs surrounding a cist which had not been previously
examined. In the cist there was a complete Bronze Age beaker together with
charcoal but no trace of a burial.

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 cairn on Chagford Common 320m west of West Vitifer Mine survives
comparatively well and is known from partial excavation to contain important
archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the
landscape in which it was built. The earlier excavations demonstrated that
this monument contained structural information much of which still survives.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX68SE50, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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