Cairn on Hameldown Tor
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1003194
Date first listed: 05-Jun-1972
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Teignbridge (District Authority)
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 70312 80568
Ring cairn on Hameldown 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 provides direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, 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. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 12 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.
The monument includes a ring cairn situated on Hameldown Tor with extensive views in all directions. The cairn forms part of a discrete cluster of mounds situated along a prominent ridge. This cairn survives as 1.5m wide circular rubble bank standing up to 0.4m high surrounding an internal area measuring 21m in diameter. In the centre of this enclosed area is an 11m diameter cairn standing up to 0.7m high. The northern edge of this mound is denoted by several edge set stones indicating the presence of a kerb which may survive elsewhere as a buried feature. A pile of stones sitting on the top of the mound measuring 4.2m in diameter and 1.2m high is a modern visitor cairn. To the north of the cairn centre is an Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 862
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:- 445638
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