Three adjoining Prehistoric linear boundaries on Bearah Tor, 687m SW of Nodmans Bowda Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010220

Date first listed: 11-Dec-1992

Map

Ordnance survey map of Three adjoining Prehistoric linear boundaries on Bearah Tor, 687m SW of Nodmans Bowda Farm
© 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.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: North Hill

National Grid Reference: SX 26390 74637, SX 26494 74826, SX 26534 74690, SX 26632 74723

Summary

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

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. The linear boundaries on Bodmin Moor consist of stone banks, sometimes incorporating facing slabs or projecting end-set slabs called orthostats. They may be massively constructed, up to 8m wide and 1m high, although the majority are much slighter. Built during the Bronze Age (c.2000- 700 BC), they fulfilled a variety of functions. Some run at high altitudes along a contour and appear to separate lower land used for cultivation from that less intensively used. Some may be territorial, marking the boundaries of land held by particular social groups. Others may serve to delineate land set aside for ceremonial and religious activities such as burial. Frequently linear boundaries are associated with other forms of contemporary field system. They provide important information on the farming practices and social organisation of Bronze Age communities and form an important element of the existing landscape. A substantial proportion of examples which have survived are considered worthy of preservation.

These linear boundaries on Bearah Tor have survived reasonably well; despite the limited effects of recent stone-splitting, their construction, layout and relationship to the topography are clear. Their proximity to the earlier long cairn and to the broadly contemporary linear boundaries, settlement sites, field systems and cairns demonstrates, over a large area, the development and organisation of land use and the nature of farming practices among Prehistoric communities.

History

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

Details

The monument includes three adjoining Prehistoric linear boundaries situated on the eastern spur of Bearah Tor on eastern Bodmin Moor, near a Neolithic chambered long cairn and other broadly contemporary linear boundaries, field systems and settlement sites and cairns. The monument is divided into four separate constraint areas. Each linear boundary survives as a bank of heaped rubble and boulders, up to 1.25m wide and 0.5m high, incorporating occasional edge-set slabs, called orthostats, which project through the bank up to a height of 0.6m. The boundaries' rubble core is only exposed through the thinner turf cover at the monument's uphill, WSW, end; the remainder of the boundaries are visible as thickly turf-covered banks with occasional projecting orthostats and larger boulders. Two of the boundaries run on almost straight and parallel WSW-ENE courses, 135m-150m apart. They define a broad zone from the summit crest of Bearah Tor to the gentler slope near the upper limit of modern pasture. Lengthwise, this zone is centred on the ridge which runs down from the eastern rock outcrops of Bearah Tor. The southern of these two boundaries extends over 340m, with two breaks of 37m and 39m respectively where its course passes across natural concentrations of boulders, one of which is disturbed by 19th century stone splitting debris. The northern boundary extends over 240m, with one break of 34m, also over a disturbed boulder concentration. The third linear boundary links the upper, WSW, ends of the other two boundaries, extending in a slight curve for 133m NNW-SSE across the upper end of the Tor's ridge and passing 55m east of the Tor's easternmost summit outcrop. This boundary has a short break in its southern half occasioned by recent stone-splitting and its actual point of junction with the southern boundary has been removed by the intrusion of a small stone quarry. Despite this, the absence of both of these boundaries from the undisturbed land immediately beyond that quarry indicates their former termination at that point. These boundaries combine to form a large scale zoning of the hillside whose high-altitude siting, construction and layout is mirrored, beyond this monument, by similar subdivisions located on the eastern spur of the Langstone Downs from 600m to the south, while broadly contemporary settlement sites and field systems occupy the valley between this monument and the Langstone Downs, from 200m to the south. An earlier, Neolithic, long cairn is located among those field systems, 280m SSW of this monument, while a round cairn is sited around the eastern outcrop of Bearah Tor, broadly contemporary with and 55m west of this monument. The surface of the lightly rutted track, crossing the southern boundary 25m before its surviving ENE terminal, is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

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: 15144

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Fleming, A, The Dartmoor Reaves, (1988)
Other
consulted 7/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcriptions for SX 2673 & SX 2674,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1397,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1427 & 1427.1,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1427,

End of official listing