Neolithic long cairn north-east of Louden Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011462

Date first listed: 08-Sep-1993


Ordnance survey map of Neolithic long cairn north-east of Louden Hill
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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 Moors. 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,

End of official listing