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Round cairn cemetery, 570m east of Selworthy Beacon

A Scheduled Monument in Selworthy, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.2207 / 51°13'14"N

Longitude: -3.5417 / 3°32'30"W

OS Eastings: 292428.765978

OS Northings: 147966.391918

OS Grid: SS924479

Mapcode National: GBR LF.3BLH

Mapcode Global: VH5JX.KLH1

Entry Name: Round cairn cemetery, 570m east of Selworthy Beacon

Scheduled Date: 15 April 1964

Last Amended: 3 September 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020794

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35327

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Selworthy

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Details

The monument, which lies in six separate areas of protection, includes a
prehistoric round cairn cemetery which is situated in open moorland
occupying a prominent position along a ridge overlooking the Bristol
Channel to the north and Dunkery Beacon to the south. The cemetery
includes nine cairns which extend downslope broadly in a line from north
west to south east between Bossington Hill and North Hill.
The mounds of the cairns range from 8.5m to 18m in diameter and are
between 0.4m high and 1.5m high. Several of the cairn mounds have hollow
depressions at their centres and three have more pronounced depressions.
The mound of the westernmost cairn has a central depression which is 2.2m
long and 0.5m deep and another, located at the centre of the group, has a
depression 6.5m diameter and 1m deep on its northern side. A cairn located
towards the east side of the group has a depression 5.7m in diameter and
1.2m deep and two small mounds adjacent to its east and west sides which
are thought to be deposits of material removed from the cairn mound. Two
of the cairn mounds survive in the form of low rims approximately 0.5m
high enclosing an uneven central area.
The past disturbance to the cairn mounds has been attributed to stone
material having been removed in antiquity for the construction of field
walls and boundaries. However, it is also known that at least three of
the cairns were the subject of partial excavations in the early 19th
century by Richard Fenton, during which quantities of charcoal were
recovered.

MAP EXTRACT
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

Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south
western peninsula of England. In contrast to the other two areas, Dartmoor
and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and
little excavation of Exmoor monuments. However, survey work has confirmed
a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human
exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day.
Many of the field monuments surviving on Exmoor date from the later
prehistoric period, examples including stone settings, stone alignments,
standing stones, and burial mounds (barrows or cairns).
Round cairn cemeteries are funerary monuments dating from the Late
Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to
the period 2400-1500BC. Constructed as rubble mounds which covered single
or multiple burials, they often also acted as a focus for burials in later
periods. Over 370 barrows or cairns, varying in diameter from 2m to 35m,
have been recorded on Exmoor, with a proportion of these forming round
cairn cemeteries on or close to the summits of the three east-west ridges
which cross the moor - the southern escarpment, the central ridge, and the
northern ridge. Those which occupy prominent locations form a major
visual element in the modern landscape. Their longevity as a monument type can
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 nine prehistoric cairns 570m east of Selworthy Beacon survive well as
a group. They are situated in a prominent position and form an important
visual element in the landscape near Hill Road, the scenic route through
the open moorland and close to the South West Coast Path.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 36
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 36
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 36
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 36
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 36
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 36
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 36
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 36
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 36
Other
SS 94 NW 103, National Monuments Record,
SS 94 NW 104, National Monuments Record,
SS 94 NW 105, National Monuments Record,
SS 94 NW 106, National Monuments Register,
SS 94 NW 107, National Monuments Record,
SS 94 NW 108, National Monuments Record,
SS 94 NW 109, National Monuments Record,
SS 94 NW 110, National Monument Register,
SS 94 NW 111, National Monuments Record,

Source: Historic England

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