Neolithic long cairn north-east of Louden Hill
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1011462
Date first listed: 08-Sep-1993
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
Parish: St. Breward
National Grid Reference: SX 14024 80329
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 insight into successive changes in the pattern
of land use through time. Long cairns were constructed as elongated rubble
mounds and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic
periods (c.3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early
farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments
surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long cairns
appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the
human remains having been selected for interment. Long cairns sometimes
display evidence of internal structural arrangements, including stone-lined
compartments and tomb chambers constructed from massive slabs. Some examples
also show edge-set kerb stones bounding parts of the cairn perimeter. Certain
sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary activity preceding
construction of the cairn and, consequently, it is probable that long cairns
acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable
period of time. Some 500 examples of long cairns and long barrows, their
counterparts in central and eastern England, are recorded nationally, of which
six are known from Bodmin Moor. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure
to survive as a visible monument and due to their comparative rarity, their
considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long cairns are
considered to be nationally important.
This long cairn on Louden Hill has survived substantially intact, clearly displaying the survival of a range of its structural elements, including the peripheral kerb and the internal compartments, despite the relatively recent, but well-defined, attentions of stone-robbers. Its proximity to the broadly contemporary hilltop enclosure and recent artefact finds provides a rare insight into the nature of land use during the Neolithic period, while its situation close to successive later Neolithic and Bronze Age ritual and funerary sites, settlements and field systems, and to the site of a medieval farm, demonstrates well the developing organisation of land use throughout the prehistoric and medieval periods.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes a Neolithic long cairn situated on the lower north-east
slope of Louden Hill, in the broad saddle between Louden Hill and Roughtor on
north-west Bodmin Moor. The long cairn is located near a broadly contemporary
hilltop enclosure and close to extensive areas of later prehistoric
settlements, field systems and numerous cairns on Louden Hill and the Roughtor
The long cairn is visible as an elongated ovoid mound of heaped rubble,
measuring 35m on its north-south long axis, along the contour, by up to 12m
wide towards its northern end, 8m wide at its southern end, and rising up to
0.6m high. The mound has an incomplete peripheral kerb, surviving as a row of
edge-set slabs, up to 0.3m high and contiguous over a 4m length near the
centre of the eastern side, from which other irregularly spaced kerb-slabs
extend to the south. Similar edge-set kerb-slabs are also visible along the
mound's north-west periphery and a single slab projects at its northern end.
The surface rubble of the mound shows evidence for an internal structure
comprising two compartments along the mound's long axis, one occupying almost
the entire southern third of the mound's interior, the other located about the
centre of the mound. The southern compartment is visible as a sub-rectangular
area, measuring 9m north-south by 4m east-west internally, defined along the
east, south and west sides by low banks, 1.5m wide and up to 0.1m high, within
the overall rubble of the mound and containing at least one edge-set slab.
The northern end of this compartment is defined by a slighter rubble bank
incorporating a line of edge-set slabs up to 0.1m high. The central
compartment is also sub-rectangular, measuring 7m north-south by 3.5m east-
west, defined by similar low rubble banks on all sides, also incorporating
occasional edge-set slabs along the east and west sides, and a line of such
slabs along the northern side. The northern third of the cairn's mound also
contains various edge-set and leaning slabs projecting from its rubble, though
not apparently forming a coherent pattern.
Relatively recent stone-robbing has been responsible for reducing some of the
mound's overall height to expose its internal structural features. The
robbing, progressing from the mound's western edge, has also created two
hollows, up to 5m wide and 0.25m deep, which extend up to 5m into that edge,
6m apart to each side of the cairn's centre. Stone-robbing has also extended
in a band 5m wide across the northern extremity of the mound, reducing the
mound in that area to 0.1m high, but leaving intact the northernmost kerb slab
and a portion of the mound to its south.
Beyond this monument, the broadly contemporary Neolithic hilltop enclosure on
Roughtor is situated 700m to the north-east and Neolithic artefacts have
been recovered during excavations on Stannon Down, 900m to the north-west.
Three later Nelolithic-Bronze Age stone circles are situated within 1.5km of
the monument, to the south-east, south-west and WSW. Extensive field systems
and settlement sites from successive phases of Bronze Age occupation survive
on Louden Hill, from 150m to the south-east, and on Roughtor Moors from 250m
to the east, while a medieval long-house settlement with its pasture boundary
is situated 40m to the west.
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: 15213
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Mercer, R J, 'Cornish Archaeology' in The excavation of a Bronze Age .. settlement, Stannon Down, , Vol. 9, (1970)
08/05/1992, Hooley, A D, Observation made on 1992 MPP field visit, (1992)
10/1984, Johnson, N D, Field survey record card: SX 1480 SW, context 5, (1984)
CAU/RCHME, The Bodmin Moor Survey, Unpubl. draft text. Ch.4, 1.3, fig 17
Consulted 5/1992, 1:100 plan, CAU Plan No. GRH 124/7/17; Louden Long Cairn,
consulted 5/1992, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcriptions for SX 1380 & SX 1480,
consulted 5/1992, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 1425 & 1013.12,
consulted 5/1992, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 1975; 1978; 3354,
consulted 5/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3384,
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