Cairn and cist 875m north west of Arch Tor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021327

Date first listed: 27-Jun-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Jun-2004


Ordnance survey map of Cairn and cist 875m north west of Arch Tor
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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: Dartmoor Forest

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 62754 78798


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.

Despite partial excavation and the building of a later field boundary, the ring cairn and cist 875m north west of Arch Tor survive very well. The presence of three well preserved kerbs indicates that important and unusual 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.


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


The monument includes a cairn and cist situated on a south facing slope overlooking the valley of the Cherry Brook. The cairn survives as three concentric rings of edge set slabs surrounding a central cist. The inner ring includes at least eight large orthostats standing up to 1m high surrounding a 3.5m diameter internal area. The middle ring is 0.6m to 0.8m beyond the first and includes at least five edge set orthostats. The outer ring is about 1.2m from the middle one and includes a number of stones protruding through the turf forming an 8.6m diameter circle. The central cist survives as a rectangular pit denoted on three sides by edge set slabs. The cist is orientated NNW-SSE and measures 0.9m long by 0.56m wide and up to 0.9m deep. The northern part of the cairn is overlain by an historic boundary bank measuring 1.3m wide and up to 0.95m high. On the northern side of this bank is the ditch from which material was quarried during its construction.

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: 34486

Legacy System: RSM


NMR, English Heritage, NMR Monument Report SX 67 NW 8, (2003)

End of official listing