Meacombe burial chamber
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1004570
Date first listed: 14-Jan-1970
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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 72494 86904
A chambered tomb known as Meacombe burial chamber, 310m north west of Meacombe.
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. Chambered tombs are funerary monuments constructed and used during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They comprise linear mounds of stone covering one or more stone-lined burial chambers. With other types of long barrow they form the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly within the present landscape. Where investigated, chambered tombs appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment. The number of burials placed within the tombs suggests they were used over a considerable period of time and that they were important ritual sites for local communities. Some 300 chambered tombs are recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as upstanding monuments, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and longevity as a monument type, all chambered tombs are considered to be nationally important.
The chambered tomb known as Meacombe burial chamber survives well and attests to the funerary and ritual activities of a considerably ancient age. It is one of a group of extremely rare monuments and will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, use, associated burial and ritual practices and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 10 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 chambered tomb situated on a north west facing slope overlooking the valley of a tributary to the River Teign. The chambered tomb survives as two upright stones which support a massive capstone. The whole measures up to 1.4m long by 1.2m wide and 1.2m high externally and encloses a chamber measuring up to 0.8m long, 0.6m wide and 0.8m high internally. There is no trace of a surrounding cairn or retaining circle visible above the ground surface.
Other archaeological remains in the immediate vicinity are scheduled separately.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 723
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-445481
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