Tor cairn forming part of a round cairn cemetery, and a stone hut circle on the summit of Cox Tor
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- West Devon (District Authority)
- Peter Tavy
- National Park:
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 53064 76185
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 provides 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.
Tor cairns are ceremonial monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age
(c.2000-1000 BC). They were constructed as ring banks of stone rubble, up to
35m in external diameter, sometimes with entrances and external ditches, and
roughly concentric around natural outcrops or tors. In some cases a kerb of
edge-set stones bounded the inner edge of the bank, and the area between the
bank and the outcrop was sometimes in-filled by laying down a platform of
stone rubble or turves. Excavated examples have revealed post-holes and pits
within the area defined by the ring-bank, some containing burial evidence, and
scatters of Bronze Age artefacts concentrated around the central tor. Tor
cairns usually occur as isolated monuments, though several are associated with
broadly contemporary cairn cemeteries. They are very rare nationally with only
40-50 known examples concentrated on the higher moors of Devon and Cornwall,
where their situation in prominent locations makes them a major visual element
in the modern landscape. As a rare monument type, all surviving examples are
considered worthy of preservation.
Stone hut circles and hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of the turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Despite limited damage to the tor cairn and partial excavation of the stone hut circle, this monument survives comparatively well. The cairn is an important visual landmark and is one of the largest tor cairns on Dartmoor.
This monument includes a tor cairn and small stone hut circle situated on the
summit of Cox Tor. The cairn has a continuous bank of small stones measuring
9.5m wide and 2.5m high situated around a 13m diameter rock outcrop. The
overall diameter of the cairn is 32m. The cairn has seen limited damage as a
result of three small shelters being constructed into the cairn material. The
largest of these measures 6m long by 2.3m wide and has been largely backfilled
with stones. The other two are circular in plan and may be of relatively
recent origin. An Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar sits on the eastern
side of the cairn bank. This cairn forms part of a round cairn cemetery
including two round cairns, two tor cairns and two ring cairns.
The stone hut circle lies 11m north-east of the cairn and survives as an oval
rubble bank. The interior of the structure measures 1.7m long by 1.5m wide
and is defined by a rubble bank 0.9m wide standing up to 0.3m high. The
doorway faces north.
The Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar is excluded from the scheduling
although the ground beneath is included.
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:
Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 83
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 83-4
Baring Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Fifth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, (1898), 105
Baring Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Fifth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, (1898), 104-5
Grinsell, L V, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Dartmoor Barrows, , Vol. 36, (1978), 161
Decon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57NW40,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
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