Round cairn and later tin prospecting pits 615m ESE of Down Tor

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009089

Date first listed: 30-Oct-1956

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Oct-2000

Map

Ordnance survey map of Round cairn and later tin prospecting pits 615m ESE of Down Tor
© 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: Walkhampton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 58640 69304

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, 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 early excavation and the later excavation for tin prospecting around the periphery, the round cairn 615m ESE of Down Tor survives comparatively well and contains important archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was erected. The cairn lies in close proximity to a stone alignment, two other cairns, an enclosure and reave which are the subject of separate schedulings. The later tin prospecting pits provide evidence for the exploitation of the Moor's natural resources.

History

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

Details

This monument includes a round cairn and tin prospecting pits situated on a saddle between the north west flank of Eylesbarrow and Down Tor. The cairn mound measures 15.5m in diameter and stands up to 1.5m high. A `T'-shaped trench cutting into the centre of the mound suggests partial early excavation, although the results of the investigation are not known. Three prospecting pits lie immediately against the circumference of the mound and these each consist of a sub-rectangular pit measuring 2.8m long, 1.4m wide and 0.6m deep with an associated crescent shaped bank standing up to 0.5m high. These pits were probably excavated by tinners searching for ore, and a large number of similar pits survive within the neighbourhood.

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: 24083

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Gerrard, G A M, The Archaeology of the Early Cornish Tin Industry, (1986), 254-5
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE134, (1985)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, SX56NE28,

End of official listing