Four round cairns 340m ENE of Sharpitor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007643

Date first listed: 13-Apr-1994


Ordnance survey map of Four round cairns 340m ENE of Sharpitor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Walkhampton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 56304 70434


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south- western Britain.

Despite evidence for the partial excavation of one mound, the four round cairns 340m ENE of Sharpitor survive well and contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The cairns form an important constituent part of a diverse group of monuments including contemporary settlements, field-systems and other funerary sites. This group of cairns lies midway between two similar sized settlements and they may therefore also have acted as territorial markers for neighbouring communities.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


This monument includes a closely spaced group of four round cairns situated on a gentle north east facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Meavy. The northern cairn mound measures 4.5m in diameter and stands up to 0.8m high. A number of retaining stones are visible around the north eastern perimeter of the mound, indicating the presence of a kerb, which survives largely as a buried feature. The western cairn measures 6m in diameter by 0.8m high and is defined by a kerb which survives partly as a buried feature. The centre of the cairn has been partially excavated to reveal a stone cist, orientated NNE-SSW. The interior of this cist measures 1.1m long, 0.6m wide and 0.3m deep. The southern cairn mound measures 4m in diameter and is 0.7m high, whilst the eastern cairn stands up to 0.8m high and measures 4m in diameter.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 22275

Legacy System: RSM


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,

End of official listing