Two cairns forming part of a cairnfield on Longstone Hill
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2019 at 11:44:17.
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