Long cairn 350m east of White Tor summit

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007980

Date first listed: 11-Jan-1965

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jan-1993

Map

Ordnance survey map of Long cairn 350m east of White Tor summit
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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 54600 78665

Summary

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, land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains, gives significant insights into changes in the pattern of land-use through time. Long cairns were constructed as elongated rubble mounds and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (c.3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long cairns appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only partial human remains selected for interment. Long cairns sometimes display evidence of internal structural arrangements, including stone-lined compartments and tomb chambers constructed from massive slabs. Some examples also show edge-set kerb stones bounding parts of the cairn perimeter. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary activity preceding construction of the cairn, and consequently it is probable that long cairns acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 examples of long cairns and long barrows, their counterparts in central and eastern England, are recorded nationally, of which sixteen are known from Dartmoor. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as a visible monument and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all positively identified long cairns are considered to be nationally important.

This is one of only fourteen such monuments known on the Moor. Its relationship to two other cairns in the immediate vicinity and to other cairns, ritual monuments and a contemporary hillfort on White Tor indicates the wealth of evidence relating to the ritual and domestic side of Prehistoric life on this part of the Moor.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a long cairn situated on a gentle south-east facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Walkham. The cairn mound measures 36m long by 12m wide and stands up to 0.6m high. The eastern and western ends of the mound are stony, whilst the area between is largely devoid of stone with the exception of a fragmentary kerb which is particularly visible on the south side of the mound. This central area is probably the result of an early partial excavation or robbing.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 22205

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)
Todd, M, The South-West to A.D. 1000, (1987)
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57NW52,
National Archaeological Record, SX57NW7,
Robinson, R, AM 107 Two round barrows and cist E of White Tor, (1983)

End of official listing