Platform cairn with rim bank and central cairn, and a secondary cairn, on the summit of Carne Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011781

Date first listed: 04-Sep-1991


Ordnance survey map of Platform cairn with rim bank and central cairn, and a secondary cairn, on the summit of Carne Down
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Altarnun

National Grid Reference: SX 20093 81769


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 quality and diversity of the evidence is such that the Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and hence it forms one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. Of particular note are the extensive relict landscapes of Prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date. Together these 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 the later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Raised platform cairns with rim banks are funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2500 - 700 BC). They were constructed as low earthen or rubble platforms on which were often sited one or more mounds surrounded by a low bank, and occasionally a ditch, on the platform perimeter. The mounds covered single or multiple burials, usually cremations, sometimes accompanied by grave goods such as pottery vessels. Often occupying prominent locations they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They are one of several types of funerary monument grouped under the term `fancy barrows', which are rare monuments nationally, with under 250 examples known outside barrow cemeteries. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst Prehistoric communities and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Both these examples on Carne Down are well preserved. They are unusual in being located so close together. They are also closely associated with extensive remains of a Prehistoric field system and settlement sites on the slopes surrounding the summit.


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


The monument comprises a small platform cairn with a rim bank and single central cairn, and secondary small round cairn situated on the summit of Carne Down, on the NE edge of Bodmin Moor. The platform cairn survives as a circular bank, 3m wide, 15m external diameter and 0.5m high, surrounding a small central round cairn, 5m diameter and 0.6m high; the surface of the platform between the cairn and bank is barely raised above the general ground level. The bank, cairn and intervening low platform surface are composed of turf-covered small stones. The stones forming the central cairn have been spread a little to the S and E sides, but the distinction between the cairn and the outer bank is particularly clear in the N and W sectors. A secondary cairn is situated 5m NW of the platform cairn's outer bank and comprises a low round mound of small stones, 5m in diameter and 0.3m high, largely turf-covered. These cairns are situated on the highest point of Carne Down near the upper boundary of a Prehistoric field system to the NE and SE, with other Prehistoric boundaries and settlement sites on the hillslope to the W and N.

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: 15036

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Trahair, J E R, 'Cornish Archaeology' in A survey of cairns on Bodmin Moor, , Vol. 17, (1978), 3-24
Consulted 1/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1523,

End of official listing