Three round cairns on the summit of Langstone Downs


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010309

Date first listed: 26-Jun-1992


Ordnance survey map of Three round cairns on the summit of Langstone Downs
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Linkinhorne

National Grid Reference: SX 25543 73793


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. 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 linear group of round cairns on Langstone Downs has survived reasonably well. Despite the limited actions of stone robbers and herdsmen, the cairns will retain many original features including burial deposits. Their proximity to extensive areas of broadly contemporary field systems and settlement sites on the southern flanks of Langstone Downs demonstrates well the pattern of- land use during the Bronze Age.


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


The monument includes a linear group of three adjoining round cairns situated on the summit of Langstone Downs near extensive areas of Prehistoric field systems and settlements on eastern Bodmin Moor. The cairns are arranged with their perimeters touching on an ESE-WNW axis on the hill's summit. Each is constructed of heaped stones up to 1m across, though mostly 0.5m across and smaller. The south-eastern cairn survives with a peripheral bank, 17m in external diameter, up to 2m wide and 0.5m high. The bank has several large edge-set slabs, called orthostats, leaning inwards along its inner edge and occasional smaller vertical orthostats along the southern half of its outer edge. Within the bank is a rubble platform, 0.3m high, on whose northern half stands a mound of heaped rubble, spreading up to the peripheral bank in that sector. The mound is 7m in diameter and stands up to 1.75m high, with a hollow 1m deep in its northern side resulting from modern stone robbing. The central and north-western cairns each survive as a circular mound of heaped rubble, lacking peripheral banks. The central cairn's mound is 17.5m in diameter and 2.25m high, with a stone-robbers' hollow 1m deep in its northern side. A small oval shelter has been constructed in the loose rubble at the top of the cairn; the shelter measures 5m by 3m and is 0.75m deep, probably used by medieval or later stock-herders. The north-western cairn's mound is 16m in diameter and up to 1.75m high. Although lacking robbing hollows, the rubble forming the upper surface of this cairn has been re-arranged to create three small oval shelters in an east-west line, each of similar size and depth as that in the central cairn.

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: 15086

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Trahair, J E R, 'Cornish Archaeology' in A survey of cairns on Bodmin Moor, , Vol. 17, (1978)
consulted 6/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2573,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1398 & 1413,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1398 & 1416,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1413,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1464,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1465,

End of official listing