Three round cairns 420m south-west of White Hill summit, forming part of White Hill round cairn cemetery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011433

Date first listed: 23-Jul-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Sep-1993


Ordnance survey map of Three round cairns 420m south-west of White Hill summit, forming part of White Hill round cairn cemetery
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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: Peter Tavy

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 53007 83643

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, major 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. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and 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. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south- western Britain.

Despite evidence for partial excavation of the northern cairn, the three round cairns 420m south-west of White Hill summit survive comparatively well and form part of the White Hill round cairn cemetery which includes three ring cairns and nine round cairns.


This monument includes three closely spaced round cairns situated on a gentle west-facing slope overlooking Willsworthy Army Camp. The northern cairn mound is flat topped and measures 13m in diameter and stands up to 0.8m high. A shallow trench extending from south-west to north-east through the centre of the mound is probably the result of a partial excavation by Baring Gould in 1888. This work revealed a pan or basin containing ashes and charcoal. The southern mound measures 4.5m in diameter and stands up to 0.3m high. The eastern mound has seen limited damage and measures 11m long by 4m wide and stands up to 0.25m high.

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: 20349

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Baring Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Tenth Report of the Barrow Committee, , Vol. 20, (1888), 47-8
Grinsell, L V, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Dartmoor Barrows, , Vol. 36, (1978), 159
Devon County SMR, SX58SW003-06, (1985)
Devon County SMR, SX58SW99, (1982)

End of official listing