Round cairn 780m south of the Thirlstone


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017924

Date first listed: 19-Jan-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Round cairn 780m south of the Thirlstone
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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 62913 86081


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 and limited disturbance, the round cairn 780m south of the Thirlstone survives well and contains archaeological and environmental information relating to this area during the prehistoric period. This cairn is one of a relatively small number of large cairns situated in a prominent position within this part of Dartmoor and it is considered that as a group they formed important territorial markers.


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


The monument includes a visually prominent round cairn situated on the eastern crest of an unnamed ridge leading south from Watern Tor. The cairn survives as a 24m diameter and 3m high stony mound. A pit in the centre of the cairn suggests early partial excavation or robbing. A pile of stones on the southern side of the mound and a small drystone built shelter are both the result of relatively recent activity. A band of rushes measuring up to 3.5m wide around the outer edge of the cairn on the north and eastern sides may indicate the presence of a buried ditch which on the southern side survives as a 1.5m wide and 0.3m deep hollow. Some of the material used in the construction of the cairn will have been derived from this ditch.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 6 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: 28660

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 211

End of official listing