Kerbed cairn and cist 635m south west of The Grey Wethers

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018711

Date first listed: 19-Mar-1999

Map

Ordnance survey map of Kerbed cairn and cist 635m south west of The Grey Wethers
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Location

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 63461 82650

Summary

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. A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by ground level fieldwork and survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

The kerbed cairn and cist 635m south west of The Grey Wethers survives well and forms an outlying part of a notable ritual area centred around the stone circles known as The Grey Wethers. The presence of a possible intact cist together with two well preserved kerbs indicates that important archaeological and related environmental information survives within this monument. In broader terms the monument also provides a valuable insight into Bronze Age funerary and ritual activity as well as providing information concerning territorial control on the Moor.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a kerbed cairn and cist lying on a south facing slope of Sittaford Tor overlooking the valley of the East Dart River. The cairn survives as two partial concentric rings of edge set stones standing up to 0.75m high, enclosing a mound measuring 0.2m high. The inner ring has a diameter of 2.8m and the outer one is 5m in diameter. Within the inner ring, a large recumbent slab aligned NNW to SSE, measuring 1.6m long by 0.25m wide may represent the coverstone of an intact cist.

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: 28685

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The Second Millennium B.C.' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 5, (1997), 183

End of official listing