Platform cairn and cist 80m south east of Calveslake Tor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015739

Date first listed: 24-Sep-1997


Ordnance survey map of Platform cairn and cist 80m south east of Calveslake 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 60872 67546


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. 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 this 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 this monument class nationally. As a rare monument type exhibiting considerable variation in form, a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite partial excavation, the platform cairn and cist 80m south east of Calveslake Tor survives well, forms part of a discrete group of cairns and contains archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. Platform cairns are relatively rare on Dartmoor, and this one forms part of a well preserved, extensive and complex archaeological landscape.


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


This monument includes a platform cairn containing a cist, situated on a north west-facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Plym. The cairn and cist form part of a dispersed group of funerary monuments. The cairn mound measures 7m in diameter, stands up to 1m high and is surrounded by a berm 2m wide and 0.3m high. The cairn has been excavated to reveal a cist orientated north west to south east, although its northern side is still partially covered by a large cover slab, which measures 1.9m long by 1.2m wide. The interior of the cist measures 1.1m long, is 0.53m in width at the south east end, tapering to 0.5m wide at the north west end. A fine tanged arrowhead, three flint flakes and a quartz crystal were found during excavation in 1899. The edge of the cairn is denoted on part of the western side by edge set stones, indicating the presence of a kerb which may survive elsewhere as a buried feature. The area surrounding the monument may contain further archaeological features and deposits, but these are not included because they are not visible and cannot therefore be accurately mapped or assessed.

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: 10706

Legacy System: RSM


Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory

End of official listing