Prehistoric embanked platform cairn and medieval transhumance hut 1.49km NW of Tresellern Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012230

Date first listed: 17-Feb-1993


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric embanked platform cairn and medieval transhumance hut 1.49km NW of Tresellern Farm
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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 22364 77686


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 insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Platform cairns are funerary monuments covering single or multiple burials and dating to the early Bronze Age (c.2000 - 1600 BC). They were constructed as low flat-topped mounds of stone rubble up to 40m in external diameter. Some examples have other features, including peripheral banks and internal mounds constructed on the platform. A kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edges of the platform, bank or mound or all three. Platform cairns occur as isolated monuments, in small groups or in cairn cemeteries. In the latter instances they are normally found alongside cairns of other types. Although no precise figure is available, current evidence indicates that there are under 250 known examples of platform cairns nationally. Platform cairns are a rare monument type which exhibit considerable variation in form and which provide important information on the diversity of ritual beliefs during the Bronze Age. Transhumance huts are small, seasonally occupied herdsman's huts built to provide shelter while tending herds grazing summer pasture on uplands or marshland. These huts reflect a system called transhumance, whereby stock was moved in spring from lowland pastures about the permanently occupied farms to communal upland grazing during the warmer summer months. Settlement patterns reflecting transhumance are known from the Bronze Age (c2000 - 700 BC) onwards, but the construction of herdsman's huts in a form distinctive from the normal dwelling houses of farmers only appears from the early medieval period onwards (from AD 450), when the practice of transhumance is also known from documentary sources and place-name studies. Their construction generally comes to an end by the 16th century. Transhumance huts are typically small, up to 10m long by 5m wide externally, but commonly much smaller, and they may occur singly or in groups of over 15. They have a simple sub-rectangular or ovoid plan, normally defined by drystone walling though occasional turf-built structures are known. At least 250 transhumance huts are known nationally of which at least 50 are recorded from Bodmin Moor, though this number is expected to increase with future recognition. Transhumance huts represent a significant component of the surviving remains of medieval upland landscapes, providing important information on the nature of settlement and farming practices during the medieval period.

This platform cairn and the adjacent transhumance hut have each survived well, with no visible or recorded evidence for any previous disturbance. The proximity of this monument to another platform cairn of a differing type is very rare and important for understanding the relationships between the forms of this type of monument. The proximity of the monument to other, broadly contemporary, funerary and ceremonial monuments demonstrates well the nature and diversity of funerary and ritual activities during the later Neolithic and Bronze Age periods, while the presence of the transhumance hut beside the platform cairn illustrates the developments in upland land use from the Prehistoric to the medieval periods.


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


The monument includes a Prehistoric embanked platform cairn with an adjacent medieval transhumance hut situated on the summit of the central hill of East Moor on eastern Bodmin Moor. The cairn forms one element of a local concentration of broadly contemporary ceremonial and funerary monuments including an additional platform cairn. The cairn survives with a turf-covered flat-topped platform of heaped rubble, 22m in diameter and 0.4m high, sloping gently over its peripheral 3m to ground level. The crest of the cairn's peripheral slope is marked by a rubble bank, 16m in external diameter, 1.5m wide and up to 0.7m above ground level, defining the perimeter of the cairn's level interior, 13m in diameter. Occasional small edge-set slabs are visible through the turf along the outer face of the bank. The medieval transhumance hut is centred 4.75m beyond the western edge of the cairn and is visible as a low turf-covered wall, 0.5m wide and 0.2m high, defining a rectangular internal area, sunken 0.1m deep and measuring 2m NNE-SSW by 1.5m wide, without an entrance gap. This hut is typical of the early medieval stock-herders' huts on Bodmin Moor occupied during the summer pasturing of stock on the uplands, the result of the seasonal movement of herds called transhumance.

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: 15191

Legacy System: RSM


CAU/RCHME, The Bodmin Moor Survey, Unpubl. draft text consulted 1992/93
consulted 1992, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2277,
consulted 3/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1088.1,
consulted 3/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1088.2,
consulted 3/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1089,
consulted 3/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1101,

End of official listing