Ancient Monuments

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Ring cairn on Holne Moor 430m south west of Seale's Stoke

A Scheduled Monument in Holne, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5212 / 50°31'16"N

Longitude: -3.8488 / 3°50'55"W

OS Eastings: 269033.061152

OS Northings: 70677.81887

OS Grid: SX690706

Mapcode National: GBR QC.8M14

Mapcode Global: FRA 27TP.BCF

Entry Name: Ring cairn on Holne Moor 430m south west of Seale's Stoke

Scheduled Date: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020099

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34433

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Holne

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Holne St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a ring cairn situated on Holne Moor overlooking Venford
Reservoir and the valley of the River Dart. The cairn forms an outlying part
of a discrete cluster of mounds situated along a prominent ridge. This cairn
survives as an incomplete 2m wide circular rubble bank standing up to 0.3m
high surrounding an internal area measuring 19.5m in diameter. The south
western sector of this bank is no longer visible but may survive as a buried
feature. In the centre of the enclosed area is an oval shaped mound measuring
9.7m long by 7.2m wide standing up to 0.4m high.
Two small oval shaped hollows cutting into the western side of the ring
cairn represent later tin prospecting pits.

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. A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual
monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter
surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and
sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring
cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered
and authenticated by ground level fieldwork and survey, although a few are
large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or
small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow
cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and
Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully
understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and
others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities
associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been
surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately
known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and
500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable
variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant
archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite damage as the result of prospecting activity and later partial use
as a car park, the ring cairn on Holne Moor 430m south west of Seale's
Stoke survives comparatively well and contains archaeological and
environmental information relating to the use of this area during the
prehistoric period.
This monument lies within a coaxial field system and forms part of a
particularly well-preserved palimpsest on Holne Moor, with abundant evidence
for its use and occupation in the prehistoric and historic periods.

Source: Historic England


RCHME archive drawing, Newman, P, (1996)

Source: Historic England

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