Ancient Monuments

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Cairn and cist 150m north of Vixen Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Whitchurch, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5511 / 50°33'3"N

Longitude: -4.0588 / 4°3'31"W

OS Eastings: 254240.218502

OS Northings: 74392.437498

OS Grid: SX542743

Mapcode National: GBR Q0.GM9D

Mapcode Global: FRA 27DL.SPH

Entry Name: Cairn and cist 150m north of Vixen Tor

Scheduled Date: 13 May 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021118

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34485

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Whitchurch

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


The monument includes a cairn containing a cist situated to the north of
Vixen Tor on a gentle south facing slope overlooking the valley of the
River Walkham.
The cairn survives as a 5.5m diameter mound standing up to 0.2m high. The
cist stands within the cairn and survives as a 1.2m long by 0.5m wide and
0.33m deep stone lined pit. The top of the cist protrudes above the
present ground surface and is covered by two slabs. Until recently these
slabs lay on the western edge of the cist.
This monument sits on the edge of an extensive coaxial field system which
extends over much of the adjacent Whitchurch Common and the slopes of Cox

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. Cists are small rectangular stone
structures used for burial purposes and date to the Bronze Age. On Dartmoor
they are made up of regular stone slabs forming a box-like structure sometimes
topped by a larger coverstone. Short cists survive as free-standing monuments,
with no enclosing stone and earth cairn. On Dartmoor cists are also associated
with cairns, ring cairns and cairnfield groups, but these free-standing
examples form a separate group in their own right. Their longevity, having
been in use for a millennium or so, provides insight into the range of
ceremonial and ritual practices of the contemporary farming communities. The
Dartmoor examples provide one of the best preserved and most dense
concentrations of this class of monument in south-western Britain and, as
such, a high proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

Despite partial excavation and reconstruction, the cairn and cist 150m north
of Vixen Tor survive well and will contain environmental and archaeological
information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was
constructed. This monument lies on the edge of a coaxial field system and
forms part of a particularly well preserved palimpsest. Abundant evidence for
the use of the area in both prehistoric and historic times considerably
enhances the significance of the monument.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 34

Source: Historic England

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