Ring cairn 510m south west of Great Nodden
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007649
Date first listed: 18-Apr-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Devon (District Authority)
Parish: Lands common to the Parishes of Bridestowe and Sourton
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 53512 87072
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. 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.
Despite evidence for partial robbing, the ring cairn 510m south west of Great Nodden survives comparatively well and contains archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was erected. This cairn is one of four ring cairns forming part of a dispersed group of cairns situated on a 2.5km long spur alongside the River Lyd.
This monument includes a ring cairn situated on the gentle south-facing spur
of Great Nodden. The earthwork survives as a circular bank, 3.5m wide and
0.5m high, surrounding an internal area measuring 10.7m in diameter. A 2.5m
wide gap in the western side of the bank may represent an original entrance.
The interior of this cairn is pitted with hollows which suggest partial
robbing or early excavation.
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: 22334
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 219-220
Turner, J R, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor, , Vol. 48, (1990), 32-38
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
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