Cairn on Thorncombe Hill, 990m north west of Halsway Post

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015080

Date first listed: 18-Sep-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Cairn on Thorncombe Hill, 990m north west of Halsway Post
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: West Somerset (District Authority)

Parish: Bicknoller

National Grid Reference: ST 13212 39105

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

The area of the Quantock Hills, although small in extent, is one of the few remaining expanses of open moorland in southern Britain. Its archaeological importance lies in the existence of a landscape displaying examples of monuments tracing the exploitation of the hills from the Bronze Age onwards. Well-preserved monuments from the Bronze Age and Iron Age, including round barrows, cairns, settlements, hillforts and a trackway, as well as later industrial remains, give insights into changes in the pattern of land use on the hills through time. These earthwork features are one of the key components of the Quantocks' broader landscape character. 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. Twelve round cairns have been recorded on the Quantocks, although the original figure is likely to have been higher. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Two thirds of the round cairn on the south facing skyline of Thorncombe Hill is well preserved. Despite evidence of disturbance to and erosion of the mound, the cairn will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the structure and period of construction.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a cairn on the south facing skyline of Thorncombe Hill on the sandstone ridge of the Quantocks. The cairn is slightly oval in appearance, probably due to its western third being subject to erosion from a main trackway. The mound measures 11.6m north-south, 10.7m east-west, and stands up to 0.7m high. A 1.5m sub-circular depression in the top of the mound indicates possible antiquarian disturbance. The cairn was noted by L V Grinsell in 1961.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 29353

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Smerset Archaeological and Nat.Hist Society' in Somerset Barrows Part 1, , Vol. 113, (1969), 27

End of official listing