Prehistoric round cairn with inner and outer kerbs and a central cist 485m WNW of Showery Tor


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Breward
National Grid Reference:
SX 14473 81495

Reasons for Designation

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Round cairns are funerary monuments covering single or multiple burials and dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as mounds of earth and stone rubble up to 40m in external diameter but usually considerably smaller; a kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edges of the mound. Burials were placed in small pits, or on occasion within a box-like structure of stone slabs called a cist, let into the old ground surface or dug into the body of the cairn. Round cairns can occur as isolated monuments, in small groups or in larger cemeteries. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provides important information on the diversity of beliefs, burial practices and social organisation in the Bronze Age. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation.

This round cairn with inner and outer kerbs and central cist has survived substantially intact despite the limited and well-defined stone-robbing. That disturbance has also revealed parts of the inner kerb and cist which, with its outer kerb, make this an unusually complex cairn. Its proximity to the Neolithic hilltop enclosure and to other broadly contemporary funerary, ritual and settlement sites demonstrates well the diversity of burial practices during the Bronze Age and their integration with other forms of land use.


The monument includes a prehistoric round cairn with a central cist situated in a natural mid-slope hollow on the western side of the Showery Tor-Roughtor ridge on north-west Bodmin Moor. The cairn is visible as a turf-covered circular mound of heaped rubble, 6.5m in diameter and up to 0.6m high. The mound's perimeter is marked by spaced edge-set and fallen slabs from a low outer kerb, projecting up to 0.1m above the turf. Relatively recent stone-robbing from the mound has created a central hollow, up to 2.5m in diameter and 0.5m deep. The hollow exposes parts of an inner kerb, 2.5m in diameter, visible as a contiguous row of four edge-set slabs along the northern side, up to 0.3m high and leaning outwards, with smaller slabs projecting through the turf on the hollow's western and southern edges. At the centre of the hollow, an edge-set slab, measuring 1.5m east-west by 0.2m wide and 0.4m high, is considered to form one side of a slab-built box-like burial structure called a cist. This cairn is situated close to extensive broadly contemporary funerary, ritual and settlement sites on the Roughtor-Showery Tor ridge, including field systems with incorporated cairns, hut circles and enclosures 45m to the north- west, and a ritual avenue and tor cairn on Showery Tor 220m to the ESE. An earlier, Neolithic, hilltop enclosure is located 540m south-east of this monument on the summit of Roughtor.

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
Trahair, J E R, 'Cornish Archaeology' in A survey of cairns on Bodmin Moor, , Vol. 17, (1978)
Carter, A./CAU/RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot for SX 1481, (1992)
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3287.1,


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

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