Three round cairns 310m south of White Tor summit


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007979

Date first listed: 18-Feb-1993


Ordnance survey map of Three round cairns 310m south of White Tor summit
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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: Peter Tavy

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 54344 78364


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 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.


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


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 excavation. 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: 22216

Legacy System: RSM


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,

End of official listing