Two round cairns, three enclosed and two open stone hut circle settlements, a rectangular enclosure and a medieval longhouse to the south of Carburrow Tor


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 15438 70666

Reasons for Designation

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments, as well as later industrial remains, provides significant insight into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Round cairns are funerary monuments covering single or multiple burials and dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as mounds of earth and stone rubble up to 40m in external diameter but usually considerably smaller; a kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edges of the mound. Burials were placed in small pits, or on occasion within a box-like structure of stone slabs called a cist, let into the old ground surface or dug into the body of the cairn. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provides important information on the diversity of beliefs, burial practices and social organisation in the Bronze Age. Stone hut circles and hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. Most date from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone-based round-houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth or stone. Frequently traces of their associated field systems may be found immediately around them. These may be indicated by areas of clearance cairns and/or the remains of field walls and other enclosures. The longevity of use of hut circle settlements and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. Longhouses are one of several distinctive forms of medieval farmhouse. Rectangular in plan, usually with boulder and rubble outer walls and with their long axis orientated downslope, the interior of long houses was divided into two separate functional areas, an upslope domestic room and a downslope stock byre. Excavation within the domestic areas of long houses has revealed stone hearths, cooking pits, benches, postholes for internal fittings and medieval artefacts. Excavation within the shippon areas has revealed stone built drains, usually along the central axis, and paving and edging slabs defining mangers. The earliest known long houses date to the 10th to 11th centuries AD, but their main period of construction was during the later 12th to 15th centuries AD. On Bodmin Moor, of the 33 deserted medieval settlements known to contain long houses, 17 include only a single long house. Longhouses provide important information on the nature of settlement organisation and farming activity during the medieval period. The two round cairns, three enclosed and two open stone hut circle settlements, a rectangular enclosure and a medieval longhouse to the south of Carburrow Tor survive well and illustrate the important palimpsest of building styles, agricultural changes and periods of climatic amelioration associated with settlement of the moor as it changed and adapted through time. These changes are crucial to understanding, social, agricultural and settlement patterns through time.


The monument includes two round cairns, three enclosed and two open stone hut circle settlements, a rectangular enclosure and a medieval longhouse situated on the summit and the southern slopes of the prominent hill called Carburrow Tor. The two cairns lie at the summit of the tor and survive as circular stony mounds which measure up to 26m in diameter and 2.2m high. The eastern cairn has two small circular shelters and one rectangular shelter built into it and the western cairn has been disturbed at its base by mineral prospecting trenches. A field boundary crosses the summit close to the cairns. To the SSE of the tor is an enclosed stone hut circle settlement, with up to 16 hut circles. Ten of these are linked together by lengths of boundary wall to form an irregularly-shaped enclosure with six others free standing either within the enclosed area or just outside it. The huts vary in diameter internally from 3.5m to 7.5m and are defined by stone walls. Immediately south east of the settlement is a medieval longhouse which survives as a rectangular building of 14m long and 4.5m wide divided by a cross wall. A door on the east side is marked by two orthostats. To the south west of the long house is a single enclosed stone hut circle measuring up to 17m in diameter and located centrally within a roughly circular enclosure of approximately 40m in diameter, possibly of Iron Age date. To the west of this is a roughly rectangular enclosure with a level interior measuring 32m long by 20m wide with a south entrance and a small structure in the north east corner. Immediately south west of the rectangular enclosure is a third enclosed stone hut circle settlement with up to six circular enclosed huts and two outlying huts associated with an oval enclosure and smaller additional fields. The huts vary in size from 5.3m to 6.7m in diameter. To the north west of this settlement is an open settlement of seven substantially-constructed stone hut circles measuring up to 7.7m in diameter. Further to the north west is a further open settlement of up to eight stone hut circles of between 6m to 9m diameter of far less substantial construction.

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-433525, 433557, 433494, 433573, 433576, 433579, 433570, 433560


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

Legacy System number:
CO 394
Legacy System:


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

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