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Cairnfield, cairn and a length of the Taw Marsh Reave 830m ESE of Moorland House

A Scheduled Monument in Belstone, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7186 / 50°43'6"N

Longitude: -3.9413 / 3°56'28"W

OS Eastings: 263050.7963

OS Northings: 92790.9692

OS Grid: SX630927

Mapcode National: GBR Q6.31CF

Mapcode Global: FRA 27M5.Y1C

Entry Name: Cairnfield, cairn and a length of the Taw Marsh Reave 830m ESE of Moorland House

Scheduled Date: 11 February 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020243

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34438

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Belstone

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: South Tawton St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument, which falls into three areas of protection, includes a
cairnfield, cairn and a length of the Taw Marsh Reave situated on a gentle
north west facing slope of Cosdon Hill overlooking the valley of the River
Taw. The cairnfield includes at least eight mounds varying between 3.6m
and 5.5m in diameter, standing between 0.4m and 0.8m high. The Taw Marsh
Reave, which is considered to represent the western edge of a prehistoric
territory, survives within the monument as a 500m long, 1.5m wide rubble bank
standing up to 0.7m high. The cairn east of this reave measures 9.5m in
diameter and stands up to 1m high. A shallow hollow in the centre of the cairn
represents partial robbing or 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,
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.

Complexes of fields and field boundaries are some of the major features of the
Dartmoor landscape. These `reaves' are part of an extensive system of
prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age (c.2000-
700 BC). They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete
territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent.
The cairnfield, cairn and length of the Taw Marsh Reave survive comparatively
well and together contain contrasting information concerning the use of this
area during the later prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 147

Source: Historic England

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