Ancient Monuments

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Four round cairns on Dunkery Hill 400m south east of Joaney How Cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Wootton Courtenay, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1722 / 51°10'19"N

Longitude: -3.5569 / 3°33'24"W

OS Eastings: 291252.6578

OS Northings: 142587.3026

OS Grid: SS912425

Mapcode National: GBR LF.6DQ4

Mapcode Global: VH5K3.9SGS

Entry Name: Four round cairns on Dunkery Hill 400m south east of Joaney How Cairn

Scheduled Date: 23 April 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020931

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35592

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Wootton Courtenay

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument, which lies in four separate areas of protection, includes
four prehistoric round cairns located in open moorland on the lower south
eastern slopes of Dunkery Hill situated at the eastern end of Dunkery
Ridge. The four round cairns are loosely grouped and form outlying members
of a major round cairn cemetery, the centre of which is located some 500m
upslope to the north west, on the summit of the hill and forms the subject
of a separate scheduling. Two of the cairns are formed by circular stoney
mounds 1m high surrounded by outer rims visible as low banks. The most
southerly of these two has a diameter of 17m and the other, which forms
the north easternmost of the group of four, is 18m in diameter and has a
sub-circular depression in the centre of the mound. The two smaller cairns
which make up the group, forming the westernmost and the southernmost of
the four, are visible as earth and stone mounds, 7.4m in diameter and 0.6m
in height, and 8.4m in diameter and 0.7m in height respectively.

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 cairns are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period
to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period
2400-1500BC. They were constructed as rubble mounds which covered single
or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as
cemeteries, and often 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 many of these found 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. Individual cairns and groups
may also be found on lower lying ground and hillslopes. 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

Despite some surface disturbance to the mounds of two of the four round
cairns located on Dunkery Hill 400m south east of Joaney How Cairn, they
survive comparatively well both individually and as a group and will
contain archaeological deposits and environmental evidence relating both
to the monument and the wider landscape in which the cairns were
constructed. In addition, they form significant satellite cairns
associated with a major round cairn cemetery which includes the prominent
Joaney How and Robin How cairns.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, (1969), 43
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, (1969), 43
SS 94 SW 78, National Monuments Record,
SS 94 SW 79, National Monuments Record,
SS 94 SW 80, National Monuments Record,
SS 94 SW 82, National Monuments Record,

Source: Historic England

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