High Cank, a hengi-form monument 520m north of Up Cerne Manor House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018413

Date first listed: 30-Aug-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Mar-1999


Ordnance survey map of High Cank, a hengi-form monument 520m north of Up Cerne Manor House
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Up Cerne

National Grid Reference: ST 65734 03194


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

Reasons for Designation

Hengi-form monuments are ritual or ceremonial centres closely connected with burial and dating to the Middle and Late Neolithic periods (3000-2000 BC). They were constructed as flat, roughly circular enclosures comprising an area of ground typically between 5m and 20m across enclosed by a ditch with external bank. One entrance or two opposing entrances through the earthwork provided access to the interior of the monument which often contained pits, cremation pits, postholes and graves. Cremation pits and postholes were often present around the perimeter of the site. They are distinguished from standard henges by their small size and their more specific association with burial. Finds from the ditches and interiors of hengi-form monuments provide important evidence for the chronological development of the sites, the types of activity that occurred within them and the nature of the environment in which they were constructed. Most examples are situated on gravel terraces or on hill slopes. They sometimes occur in pairs or groups of three in close proximity. Hengi- form monuments are very rare nationally with only 24 examples known, although this is likely to be an underestimate in view of the difficulties in recognition. As one of the few types of identified Neolithic structures and in view of their rarity, all hengi-form monuments are considered to be of national importance.

Despite some 20th century disturbance, the hengi-form monument 520m north of Up Cerne Manor House is a well preserved example of its class and will contain archaeological remains providing information about Neolithic burial practices, economy and environment.


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


The monument includes High Cank, a hengi-form monument, located on the top of a ridge, 520m north of Up Cerne Manor House. The monument has an uneven central platform at natural ground level, 10m in diameter, surrounded by a ditch 2m wide and up to 0.4m deep, with an outer bank of flint nodules 3m wide and up to 0.4m high. On the eastern side there is a break in the bank with a corresponding causeway across the ditch, 2m wide, creating an entrance into the earthwork. Previously, traces of a much disturbed slight mound were recorded at the centre of the enclosure. This now appears as a depression, possibly the result of past excavation, 2.7m by 1.6m and 0.2m deep, surrounded by dumps of upcast soil. The bank on the south eastern side is abutted by a mound containing a water reservoir which was constructed in the 1970s. All fence posts and the water tank are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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: 31054

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Royal Commission on Historical Monuments: West Dorset, Volume 1, (1952), 87
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 174

End of official listing