Two cairns 720m and 800m east of Higher White Tor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016636

Date first listed: 02-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Two cairns 720m and 800m east of Higher White Tor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Dartmoor Forest

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 62701 78657, SX 62787 78622


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 partial excavation, the two round cairns 720m and 800m east of Higher White Tor survive comparatively well and contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which they were built. The survival of the kerbs suggests that significant structural information also survives in these mounds.


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


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes two round cairns situated on a south facing slope overlooking the valley of the Cherry Brook. The western cairn survives as a 7.7m diameter and 0.8m high mound with a number of edge set stones around the southern perimeter which indicate the presence of a kerb, which survives elsewhere as a buried feature. The second cairn lies 90m to the south east and survives as a 10m diameter and 1.3m high mound surrounded by a stone kerb. Both mounds were excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1900 and this work revealed charcoal filled pits cut into the original ground surface beneath the cairns. The pit under the eastern cairn also contained some burnt bone. The hollows visible in the centre of each mound are the result of this investigation as is a small spoil dump adjacent to the western mound.

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: 28719

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX67NW4, (1994)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX67NW5, (1994)

End of official listing