Round barrow on North Hessary Tor
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002504
Date first listed: 26-Apr-1956
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Devon (District Authority)
Parish: Dartmoor Forest
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 57877 74224
Round cairn on North Hessary Tor.
Reasons for Designation
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. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south-western Britain. The round cairn on North Hessary Tor is in an extremely prominent and exposed position. This would seem to be the perfect location for a territorial marker. Unusually for a Dartmoor cairn its outer ditch is also still discernible. Given the nature of the location it survives comparatively well and will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, use and landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 November 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument includes a round cairn situated in on North Hessary Tor, an extremely prominent hill which acts as the watershed between the Rivers West Dart, Meavy and Walkham. The cairn survives as a circular stony mound which measures up to 7m in diameter and 0.5m high. The mound is surrounded by a partially buried ditch up to 1.3m wide and 0.2m deep.
A second cairn in the vicinity is not included in the scheduling because it has not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 380
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume Three - The South-West , (1994), 33, Map 44
PastScape Monument No:- 440282
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing