Butterdon Hill stone alignment and cairn
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1012486
Date first listed: 27-Jun-1953
Date of most recent amendment: 23-Oct-1991
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: South Hams (District Authority)
District: South Hams (District Authority)
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 65539 60225
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, major 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. Stone aligments provide rare evidence of ceremonial or ritual practices on the Moor during the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. The Butterdon Hill alignment is particularly significant as it is the second longest on Dartmoor and its full length is defined by a terminal cairn at the southern end to a terminal stone at the northern end. It is also associated with several other cairns and ceremonial monuments on Butterdon Hill.
Stone alignments or stone rows consist of upright stones set in a single
line or two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length.
They frequently lead to burial monuments such as small cairns, cists and
barrows and are therefore thought to have had a ceremonial function. The 70
or so examples known on Dartmoor were probably constructed in the Late
Neolithic period (around 2500 BC). The Butterdon Hill single stone alignment
runs for over 2km along the ridge between Butterdon Hill and Piles Hill and
is the second longest stone alignment on Dartmoor. The stones are up to a
metre in height and are spaced at intervals of 1m to 1.5m. There is a cairn
10.5m in diameter and 0.3m in height, with a retaining kerb at the southern
end of the alignment and a recumbent stone, 2.56m in length, known as the
Longstone, which is considered to have been the northern terminal. One stone
in the row c.300m south of this northern terminal has a cross incised on its
west face and is known as Hobajon's Cross. The line has been adopted as the
Harford Moor/ Ugborough Moor Common Land boundary and includes introduced
modern boundary stones.
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: 10558
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Davidson, C J, Seabrook, R A G, 'Proc. Devon Arch. Soc.' in Stone Rings on South East Dartmoor, , Vol. 31, (1973), 25
Emmett, D D, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Stone Rows: The Traditional View Reconsidered, , Vol. 39, (1979), 111
Worth, R H, 'Trans Devonshire Assoc' in Dartmoor 1788-1808, , Vol. 73, (1941), 203
Worth, R H, 'Trans Devonshire Assoc' in Stone Rows of Dartmoor, Part 1, , Vol. 78, (1946), 287
Devon County SMR SX65NE-013.01,
Devon County SMR SX66NE-006 and 038,
Devon County SMR SX66SE-002,
Devon County SMR SX66SE-013,
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