Cairn cemetery and earthwork bank 340m south west of Blackaton Brook Ford


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018906

Date first listed: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Cairn cemetery and earthwork bank 340m south west of Blackaton Brook Ford
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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: South Tawton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 64491 90371


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, 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. Cairnfields are concentrations of three or more cairns sited within close proximity to one another; they may consist of burial cairns or cairns built with stone cleared from the land surface (clearance cairns). Round funerary cairns were constructed during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC) and consisted of earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. The considerable variation in the size of cairnfields and their 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.

Despite partial excavation of four mounds, the cairn cemetery 340m south west of Blackaton Brook Ford survives well and contains important archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was built. Of particular interest is the associated linear earthwork bank which may be denoting the upper edge of a ritual area associated with the cairns.


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


The monument includes a cairn cemetery and sinuous linear earthwork bank situated on a gentle east facing slope overlooking the valley of the Blackaton Brook. The cairn cemetery survives as a linear cluster of six mounds standing between 0.6m and 1.3m high. Three of the mounds are circular in shape with their diameters varying between 4.5m and 8m. The remainder are oval with lengths between 5.5m and 13m. Four of the mounds have been robbed or partially excavated and an edge set stone in the centre of the northern cairn may represent the remnants of a cist. The earthwork bank lies a short distance upslope of the mounds and its alignment suggests that it is contemporary with the cairns.

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: 28700

Legacy System: RSM


MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1998)

End of official listing