Two circular cairns, an ovoid cairn and a ring cairn lying within an enclosure forming part of a cairnfield on Homerton Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010774

Date first listed: 03-Mar-1995


Ordnance survey map of Two circular cairns, an ovoid cairn and a ring cairn lying within an enclosure forming part of a cairnfield on Homerton Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Okehampton Hamlets

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 56249 90368


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, 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.

In addition to the round and ovoid cairns this monument contains a ring cairn. A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by ground level fieldwork and survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation. The cairnfield on Homerton 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 agricultural and funerary activity on the western side of the Moor.


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


This monument includes two circular cairns, an ovoid cairn and a ring cairn lying within an enclosure, forming part of a cairnfield situated on a gentle north west facing slope of Homerton Hill overlooking the valley of the West Okement River. Other cairns and a length of bank lie in the immediate vicinity and these are covered by separate schedulings. The two circular mounds measure 4m and 6.3m in diameter and stand up to 0.4m and 0.7m high respectively. The larger mound has a hollow in its centre, suggesting that it has been robbed or partially excavated. The ovoid cairn is aligned east to west and measures 4.7m long, 2.3m wide and 0.4m high. The ring cairn has seen considerable damage to its north western side and now survives as a 2m wide and 0.4m high `C' shaped bank which would have originally enclosed an area 7m in diameter. A 1m wide and 0.3m high lynchet leads from the ring cairn to the largest of the circular mounds. The enclosure surrounding these cairns survives as two separate lengths of rubble bank. These were probably once connected by further lengths of walling which now survive as buried features. The interior of the enclosure measures 100m north west to south east by at least 96m south west to north east, and the surrounding rubble bank is 3m wide and 0.4m high. A small gap in the south eastern length of the boundary wall may represent an original entrance.

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: 24149

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX59SE58, (1982)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,

End of official listing