Long cairn 350m east of White Tor summit
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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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 54600 78665
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.
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.
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)
Todd, M, The South-West to A.D. 1000, (1987)
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)
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