Three round cairns 310m south of White Tor summit
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Jun-2019 at 13:39:36.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- West Devon (District Authority)
- Peter Tavy
- National Park:
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 54344 78364
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-
Despite partial excavation, the three round cairns 310m south of White Tor summit survive comparatively well and form part of a widely dispersed group of at least fourteen cairns on the southern and eastern slopes of White Tor. This area contains abundant archaeological evidence relating to Prehistoric settlement and land-use and these funerary monuments are an important constituent part of this Bronze Age upland landscape.
This monument includes three round cairns situated on a gentle south-facing
slope overlooking the valley of the Colly Brook. All the cairns were
partially excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1899 and this
work revealed central pits containing ashes, charcoal and flints. The
westernmost cairn mound measures 11.9m in diameter and stands up to 0.9m high.
A stone kerb composed of small boulders defines the outer edge of the mound.
A hollow in the centre of the mound and a trench cut into the western side are
probably the result of the nineteenth-century partial excavation. The
northernmost cairn mound measures 4.6m in diameter and stands up to 0.5m high,
whilst the southern cairn measures 4.7m in diameter and 0.5m high. Both these
mounds contain central hollows indicating the location of the earlier partial
These cairns form part of a widely dispersed group of at least fourteen cairns
on the southern and eastern slopes of White Tor.
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Sixth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 31, (1899)
National Archaeological Record, SX57NW10,
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