Prehistoric platform cairn on Caradon Hill, 550m north west of Heather House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020941

Date first listed: 30-Jul-2003


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric platform cairn on Caradon Hill, 550m north west of Heather House
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Linkinhorne

National Grid Reference: SX 27073 70541


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

Reasons for Designation

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Platform cairns are funerary monuments covering single or multiple burials and dating to the Early Bronze Age (c.2000-1600 BC). They were constructed as low flat-topped mounds of stone rubble up to 40m in external diameter. Some examples have other features, including peripheral banks and internal mounds, constructed on this platform. A kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edges of the platform, bank or mound, or all three. Platform cairns occur as isolated monuments, in small groups, or in cairn cemeteries. In the latter instances they are normally found alongside cairns of other types. Although no precise figure is available, current evidence indicates that there are under 250 known examples of this monument class nationally. As a rare monument type exhibiting considerable variation in form, a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation.

The platform cairn on Caradon Hill, 550m north west of Heather House, survives well. Despite the limited attentions of post-medieval stone-robbers, the overall form of the cairn is clearly visible with evidence for a slab-built funerary structure and with much of the mound remaining unexcavated. Consequently, original features within the fabric of the mound or let into the prehistoric ground surface beneath it are expected to survive. That old land surface, important for the environmental data it may contain, will also survive under much of the mound's area. The cairn forms part of a wider cairn group on Caradon Hill, demonstrating well the major role of landscape settings in prehistoric religious and funerary practices.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric platform cairn on the summit area of Caradon Hill, a prominent hill on the south east edge of Bodmin Moor. The cairn forms part of a large cairn group that extends south west from the hill's summit and along its main spur.

The cairn survives with a low rounded mound up to 18.25m in diameter and up to 0.6m high. The mound rises over its peripheral 1m-1.5m to a flattened upper platform, a profile slightly modified in some areas by post-medieval rubble extraction which has produced several shallow hollows running onto the cairn from the edges. Occasional small stones from the cairn's rubble fabric are exposed in the turf, but slightly north east of centre, a group of larger slabs, some edge-set and up to 0.8m long, break through the surface turf and are considered to derive from a slab-built funerary structure called a cist.

Further relatively recent stone extraction occurs on the cairn's southern edge, which has been dug away to expose a large natural boulder; the west end of the boulder was split away using the plug-and-feather technique characteristic of 19th century and later stone-splitting. The break was clearly unsuccessful with the split end left where it fell, but one of the holes intended to guide the next break still retains its broken iron plug and two feathers jammed in place.

This cairn is part of a wider group containing at least 19 prehistoric cairns of various forms extending south west from the hill's summit and along the spine and upper flanks of its main spur. The overall group subdivides into two sub-groups: the ten cairns across the hill's summit dome are relatively closely spaced on an overall alignment south west from the summit, while the nine cairns along the hill's south western spur are more widely spaced and scattered about a south westerly alignment shifted to the south east from that of the summit cairns. The cairn in this scheduling is located at the south west end of the cairns on the summit dome. The further cairns within the wider cairn group form the subject of separate schedulings.

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: 15584

Legacy System: RSM


CAU, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1409, (2002)
CAU, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1411, (2002)
CAU/RCHME, 1:2500 Bodmin Moor Survey AP plots & Field Traces SX 2670 & 2770, (1984)
Gerrard, S., English Heritage Book of Dartmoor, 1997, Forthcoming
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map SX 27 SE Source Date: 2002 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing