Ruined cairn on Higher Hare Knap
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006144
Date first listed: 01-Jun-1976
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Somerset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: ST 14844 39516
Platform cairn on Higher Hare Knap.
Reasons for Designation
The area of the Quantock Hills, although small in extent, is one of the few remaining expanses of open moorland in southern Britain. Its archaeological importance lies in the existence of a landscape displaying examples of monuments tracing the exploitation of the hills from the Bronze Age onwards.
Well-preserved monuments from the Bronze Age and Iron Age, including round barrows, cairns, settlements, hillforts and a track-way, as well as later industrial remains, give insights into changes in the pattern of land use on the hills through time. These earthwork features are one of the key components of the Quantocks' broader landscape character. 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 fewer than 250 known examples of this monument class nationally. They are a rare monument type exhibiting considerable variation in form and provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. Twelve ‘round’ cairns have been recorded on the Quantocks, although the original figure is likely to have been higher. Despite some partial early excavation and the construction of a later cairn, the platform cairn on Higher Hare Knap survives well, is of a rare type 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 25 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 platform cairn situated on the northern summit of the prominent ridge called Higher Hare Knap which forms the watershed between the valleys of the Holford Combe and Somerton Combe. The cairn survives as a flat topped circular stony mound measuring up to 21m in diameter and 1m high. On its western side is a small hollow with an associated spoil heap and to the north east a modern ‘visitors’ cairn’ has been established.
Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are not included because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: SO 417
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-189581
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