Four round cairns 1060m south east of Great Trowlesworthy Tor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013423

Date first listed: 01-Dec-1965

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Apr-2001


Ordnance survey map of Four round cairns 1060m south east of Great Trowlesworthy Tor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Shaugh Prior

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 58670 63516


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

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 provide 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. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south- western Britain.

Despite evidence of partial excavation or robbing, the four round cairns 1060m south east of Great Trowlesworthy Tor survive well and contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The cairns form a constituent part of a diverse group of broadly contemporary monuments including settlements, field systems and other funerary sites. This group of cairns lies between two settlements in an area which has been partly cleared of stone and therefore they may also have acted as territorial markers.


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


This monument includes four round cairns situated on a gentle SSW facing slope overlooking the Whitehill Yeo and Cholwichtown china clay pits. The largest cairn survives as a 26m long by 24m wide and 1.2m high, stony mound with several hollows dug into its surface. This cairn was investigated by Worth in the latter part of the 19th century and this work revealed a small number of stone lined chambers, which were identified as huts. In more recent years this mound has been seen as a possible chambered cairn, although it is more likely that it represents a large round cairn into which later shelters have been inserted. A band of rushes around the northern and eastern edge of the cairn may represent the site of a buried ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the mound. Lying immediately next to the north western edge of the mound are two small satellite cairns. Both mounds measure 2.5m in diameter and stand up to 0.15m high. The fourth cairn lies 16.9m north of the largest mound and survives as a 6m diameter mound standing up to 0.7m high. A number of edge set stones denote the circumference of the cairn and represent a kerb which survives partly as a buried feature. A hollow in the centre of the mound, measuring 1.7m long, 1.3m wide and 0.5m deep, indicates that the cairn has been robbed or partially excavated. This monument is in the care of the Secretary of State.

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: 10800

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Worth, R N, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in A Hut Cluster On Dartmoor, , Vol. 22, (1890), 237
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56SE11, (1989)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56SE256, (1986)
MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1993)
Robinson, R., English Heritage Office SAM Report form for DV 581, (1984)
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory

End of official listing