Hut circles W of Wigford Down China Clay Works
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002521
Date first listed: 29-Jul-1960
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Devon (District Authority)
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 54699 64959
A ring cairn and a kerbed round cairn forming part of a round cairn cemetery on Wigford Down, within the Wigford Down coaxial field system 650m north west of Lower Cadworthy Farm.
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. 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.
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 or surrounded by a retaining kerb. 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 and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south- western Britain.
Despite some partial excavation the ring cairn and the kerbed round cairn within the Wigford Down coaxial field system 650m north west of Lower Cadworthy Farm survive well. Ring cairns are a rare form of monument and the spectacular kerb connected with the round cairn make these an important and unusual pairing. They are also situated within a coaxial field system showing their importance as landmarks through time.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 3 November 2015. The 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.
The monument includes a ring cairn and a kerbed round cairn situated within the Wigford Down coaxial field system overlooking the Plym and Meavy Valleys. The ring cairn is the northern of the two and survives as a circular bank measuring up to 3.5m wide and 0.75m high which surrounds a flat interior up to 17.5m in diameter. There is evidence for partial early excavation or robbing on the south west side. The kerbed cairn survives as an oval mound measuring up to 10m long by 5m wide. The cairn has an interior kerb with a 6.3m diameter composed of at least 5 massive stones up to 2.4m long and 0.9m high, four of which are still standing and the fifth is fallen.
Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of the monument, some are scheduled, but others are not currently protected and these are not included within the scheduling because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 434
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-439543
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