Two cairns forming part of a cairnfield on Longstone Hill


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


Ordnance survey map of Two cairns forming part of a cairnfield on Longstone Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Devon (District Authority)
Okehampton Hamlets
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 56654 91197

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 successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Cairnfields are concentrations of three or more cairns sited within close proximity to one another; they may consist of burial cairns or cairns built with stone cleared from the land surface (clearance cairns). Round funerary cairns were constructed during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC) and consisted of earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. The considerable variation in the size of cairnfields and their 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.

The cairnfield on Longstone Hill survives well and contains archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. It provides a valuable insight into Bronze Age funerary, ritual and agricultural activity on the north western side of the moor. This cairnfield is more extensive and contains more cairns than any other similar site known on the moor, and its association with a standing stone and single stone hut circle is rare.


This monument includes two cairns, aligned NNW-SSE, situated on a west facing slope of Longstone Hill forming part of a cairnfield, including at least 64 mounds, overlooking the valleys of the Redaven Brook and West Okement River. Other cairns lie in the immediate vicinity and these are covered by separate schedulings. Both mounds are sub-circular in shape. The northern mound measures 6.5m in diameter and stands up to 1m on the downslope side and 0.4m high on the upslope. A ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the mound surrounds the cairn and survives as a 1.5m wide and 0.2m deep hollow on the southern and eastern sides and as a buried feature elsewhere. The southern mound measures 2.5m in diameter and 0.2m high. Many of the mounds within the cairnfield are crest sited and are therefore clearly visible from long distances to the east and west. This situation strongly suggests that many of the cairns probably contain burials, although the size and shape of some mounds suggests that some may also be associated with stone clearance connected with cultivation of the area. The northern cairn within this monument is likely to be of funerary origin because of the associated quarry ditch, a feature not known to be associated with clearance cairns.

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:


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX59SE39, (1982)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,


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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