Cist on Whitehorse Hill, 910m south east of Taw Head
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Jan-2021 at 19:19:25.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- West Devon (District Authority)
- Dartmoor Forest
- National Park:
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 61724 85476
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. Cists are small rectangular stone
structures used for burial purposes and date to the Bronze Age. On Dartmoor
they are made up of regular stone slabs forming a box-like structure sometimes
topped by a larger coverstone. Short cists survive as free-standing monuments,
with no enclosing stone and earth cairn. On Dartmoor cists are also associated
with cairns, ring cairns and cairnfield groups, but these free-standing
examples form a separate group in their own right. Their longevity, having
been in use for a millennium or so, provides insight into the range of
ceremonial and ritual practices of the contemporary farming communities. The
Dartmoor examples provide one of the best preserved and most dense
concentrations of this class of monument in south-western Britain and, as
such, a high proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
The cist on Whitehorse Hill, 910m south east of Taw Head survives very well and most notably it contains some of its original contents. Important environmental information will survive both within and around the cist as will crucial evidence relating to its construction.
The monument includes a cist situated near the summit of Whitehorse Hill.
The cist was, until 2001, visible in the edge of an irregularly shaped
island of peat standing above its surroundings. Only the western edge of
the cist was exposed, the remainder, including the cist's original
contents, being sealed beneath peat deposits. The cist measures 0.3m deep
by 0.4m wide and its capstone remains in its original position.
Early in 2001 a protective drystone wall measuring 3m long by 0.9m high
was built in front of the western edge of the cist, which as a result is
no longer visible. The drystone wall is included in the scheduling.
This cist stands at a considerable height above sea level and, perhaps as
a consequence, no broadly contemporary settlements are known to survive
within its vicinity.
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:
- Legacy System:
Fieldwork by Joe Turner, Turner, Joe, Whitehorse Hill Cist, (2000)
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing