Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric platform cairn on Caradon Hill, 550m north west of Heather House

A Scheduled Monument in Linkinhorne, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5091 / 50°30'32"N

Longitude: -4.4402 / 4°26'24"W

OS Eastings: 227072.638432

OS Northings: 70541.161

OS Grid: SX270705

Mapcode National: GBR NG.KC99

Mapcode Global: FRA 17LQ.806

Entry Name: Prehistoric platform cairn on Caradon Hill, 550m north west of Heather House

Scheduled Date: 30 July 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020941

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15584

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Linkinhorne

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Linkinhorne

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a prehistoric platform cairn on the summit area of
Caradon Hill, a prominent hill on the south east edge of Bodmin Moor. The
cairn forms part of a large cairn group that extends south west from the
hill's summit and along its main spur.

The cairn survives with a low rounded mound up to 18.25m in diameter and
up to 0.6m high. The mound rises over its peripheral 1m-1.5m to a
flattened upper platform, a profile slightly modified in some areas by
post-medieval rubble extraction which has produced several shallow hollows
running onto the cairn from the edges. Occasional small stones from the
cairn's rubble fabric are exposed in the turf, but slightly north east of
centre, a group of larger slabs, some edge-set and up to 0.8m long, break
through the surface turf and are considered to derive from a slab-built
funerary structure called a cist.

Further relatively recent stone extraction occurs on the cairn's southern
edge, which has been dug away to expose a large natural boulder; the west
end of the boulder was split away using the plug-and-feather technique
characteristic of 19th century and later stone-splitting. The break was
clearly unsuccessful with the split end left where it fell, but one of the
holes intended to guide the next break still retains its broken iron plug
and two feathers jammed in place.

This cairn is part of a wider group containing at least 19 prehistoric
cairns of various forms extending south west from the hill's summit and
along the spine and upper flanks of its main spur. The overall group
subdivides into two sub-groups: the ten cairns across the hill's summit
dome are relatively closely spaced on an overall alignment south west from
the summit, while the nine cairns along the hill's south western spur are
more widely spaced and scattered about a south westerly alignment shifted
to the south east from that of the summit cairns. The cairn in this
scheduling is located at the south west end of the cairns on the summit
dome. The further cairns within the wider cairn group form the subject of
separate schedulings.

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

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been
recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The
Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the
best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of
prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human
exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The
well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field
systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains
provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land
use through time. Platform cairns are funerary monuments covering single or
multiple burials and dating to the Early Bronze Age (c.2000-1600 BC). They
were constructed as low flat-topped mounds of stone rubble up to 40m in
external diameter. Some examples have other features, including peripheral
banks and internal mounds, constructed on this platform. A kerb of edge-set
stones sometimes bounds the edges of the platform, bank or mound, or all
three. Platform cairns occur as isolated monuments, in small groups, or in
cairn cemeteries. In the latter instances they are normally found alongside
cairns of other types. Although no precise figure is available, current
evidence indicates that there are under 250 known examples of this monument
class nationally. As a rare monument type exhibiting considerable variation in
form, a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

The platform cairn on Caradon Hill, 550m north west of Heather House,
survives well. Despite the limited attentions of post-medieval
stone-robbers, the overall form of the cairn is clearly visible with
evidence for a slab-built funerary structure and with much of the mound
remaining unexcavated. Consequently, original features within the fabric
of the mound or let into the prehistoric ground surface beneath it are
expected to survive. That old land surface, important for the
environmental data it may contain, will also survive under much of the
mound's area. The cairn forms part of a wider cairn group on Caradon Hill,
demonstrating well the major role of landscape settings in prehistoric
religious and funerary practices.

Source: Historic England


CAU, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1409, (2002)
CAU, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1411, (2002)
CAU/RCHME, 1:2500 Bodmin Moor Survey AP plots & Field Traces SX 2670 & 2770, (1984)
Gerrard, S., English Heritage Book of Dartmoor, 1997, Forthcoming
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map SX 27 SE
Source Date: 2002

Source: Historic England

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