Ancient Monuments

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Ring cairn 296m south east of Riddon Brake

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5822 / 50°34'55"N

Longitude: -3.8785 / 3°52'42"W

OS Eastings: 267100.007795

OS Northings: 77510.021317

OS Grid: SX671775

Mapcode National: GBR Q8.RRFZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 27RJ.JSQ

Entry Name: Ring cairn 296m south east of Riddon Brake

Scheduled Date: 11 July 2007

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021428

English Heritage Legacy ID: 36054

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Widecombe-in-the-Moor St Pancras

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

The monument includes a ring cairn situated on a gentle south west facing
slope overlooking the Walla Brook. The ring cairn survives as a 5.5m diameter
flat topped circular mound standing up to 0.4m high. Around the southern edge
of the mound are three edge set orthostats which represent the remains of a
kerb which may survive elsewhere as a buried feature. A flat stone protruding
through the turf within the southern part of the mound may represent a
displaced cist coverstone.

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

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. A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual
monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter
surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and
sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring
cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered
and authenticated by ground level fieldwork and survey, although a few are
large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or
small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow
cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and
Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully
understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and
others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities
associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been
surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately
known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and
500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable
variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant
archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

The ring cairn 296m south east of Riddon Brake survives well and is unusually
sited towards the bottom of a slope. The cairn lies on the edge of an area
containing a wide variety of broadly contemporary archaeological sites and it
therefore significantly contributes to our understanding of Bronze Age land
control and ritual. The cairn will also contain important archaeological and
environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which
it was built.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The Second Millennium B.C.' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 5, (1997), 171

Source: Historic England

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