Cairn with cist S of Royal Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1002591

Date first listed: 28-Jan-1970


Ordnance survey map of Cairn with cist S of Royal Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Dartmoor Forest

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 62018 72079


A platform cairn with kerb and cist 900m ESE of Strane Head.

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. 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 less than 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 preservation. 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. Despite displacement of some of the kerb stones and the cist the platform cairn with kerb and cist 900m ESE of Strane Head survives well and will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to is construction, funerary and ritual practices, territorial significance and overall landscape context. This is a rare type of cairn in close proximity to other more common types and may reinforce the differences in both funerary practices and chronologies between the various types.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 11 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 platform cairn with kerb and cist situated on the eastern slopes of Royal Hill overlooking the valley of the River Swincombe. The platform cairn survives as a flat topped stony mound defined by an outer kerb of approximately 14 stone slabs which form a ring with a diameter of up to 4.9m and 0.6m high. Two further slabs have been displaced and lie outside the retaining kerb. Within the cairn is a stone lined cist which measures up to 1.4m long by 0.8m wide. The coverstone and an end stone have been displaced. The relative lack of spoil from the early partial excavation of this cairn and cist suggest the cist was never deeply covered with a cairn of stones.

Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of this monument. Some are scheduled, but others are not because they have not been formally assessed.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: DV 728

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume Four – The South-East , (1993), 232-233
PastScape Monument No:-443346

End of official listing