Round cairn on Great Tom’s Hill.
Reasons for Designation
Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south western peninsula of England. In contrast to the other two areas, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little excavation of Exmoor monuments. However, survey work has confirmed a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day. Many of the field monuments surviving on Exmoor date from the later prehistoric period, examples including stone settings, stone alignments, standing stones, and burial mounds (barrows or cairns). Round cairns are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500BC. They were constructed as rubble mounds which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries, and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Over 370 barrows or cairns, varying in diameter from 2m to 35m, have been recorded on Exmoor, with many of these found on or close to the summits of the three east-west ridges which cross the moor - the southern escarpment, the central ridge, and the northern ridge. Individual cairns and groups may also be found on lower lying ground and hillslopes. Those which occupy prominent locations form a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their longevity as a monument type can provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. Despite some partial excavation the round cairn on Great Tom’s Hill survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, territorial significance, social organisation, funerary and ritual practices and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 20 August 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 on the south west facing slopes of Great Tom’s Hill overlooking several tributaries to the Badgworthy Water. The cairn survives as a circular stony mound measuring approximately 13m in diameter and 0.5m high. A surrounding rush filled hollow may be a largely buried quarry ditch from which the construction material was derived and a rectangular pit on the western side is probably of Second World War date.
Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are scheduled separately.