Coaxial fields, prehistoric settlement, two cairns and a stone alignment in Little Stannon Newtake, 900m south east of Stannon Tor


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Coaxial fields, prehistoric settlement, two cairns and a stone alignment in Little Stannon Newtake, 900m south east of Stannon Tor
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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 65331 80883, SX 65343 81082, SX 65345 80344, SX 65463 81058

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. Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are some of the major features of the Dartmoor landscape. The reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are defined by parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land from the grazing zones of the higher moor and defining the watersheds of adjacent river systems. Occupation sites and funerary or ceremonial monuments are often incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes. Their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They show considerable longevity as a monument type, sometimes surviving as fossilised examples in medieval field plans. They are an important element in the existing landscape and, as such, a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-7000BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a mounument 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. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south-western Britain. Stone alignments or stone rows consist of upright stones set in single file or in avenues of two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are often physically linked to burial monuments, such as small cairns, cists and barrows, and are considered to have had an important ceremonial function. The Dartmoor alignments mostly date from the Late Neolithic period (c.2400-2000BC). Some eighty examples, most of them on the outer Moor, provide over half the recorded national population. Due to their comparative rarity and longevity as a monument type, all survivng examples are considered nationally important, unless very badly damaged. The coaxial fields, prehistoric settlement, two cairns and stone alignment in Little Stannon Newtake, 900m south east of Stannon Tor, survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the use of this area during the prehistoric period. These fields form part of the Stannon block system which is the most extensive and best preserved of the block systems on Dartmoor. The relationship between the field system and the ritual sites in particular will provide an insight into the complex character of land use.


The monument, which falls into four separate areas of protection, comprises a group of coaxial fields, an associated prehistoric settlement, two cairns and a stone alignment situated on a west facing slope overlooking the valley of the Stannon Brook. The coaxial fields survive as a group arranged on a single north east-south west prevailing axis, subdivided by transverse boundaries. The boundaries survive as stony banks measuring up to 3m wide and 0.7m high. Within the southernmost field there is a stone hut circle settlement. This survives as a cluster of at least five stone hut circles and a number of lengths of rubble walling which denote the position of small enclosures. The northern cairn within the monument stands a short distance north of the northernmost field boundary. The cairn survives as a 6.5m diameter mound standing up to 0.6m high. A shallow hollow in the centre of the mound is the result of an excavation by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1896. This work revealed a pit containing charcoal, burnt bone and a flint flake. A group of four edge set stones standing up to 1m high situated to the south east of the cairn represent the remains of a stone alignment. The second cairn within the monument stands at NGR SX65468105 and survives as a 4.5m diameter mound standing up to 0.5m high. The western edge of the mound is denoted by a kerb of edge set slabs standing up to 1.15m high, whilst on the east it survives as a buried feature beneath a later boundary bank. In the centre of the mound is a cist which survives as a rectangular pit denoted by edge set slabs. The cist is orientated north - south and measures 1.2m long, by 0.5m wide.

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:


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 168-169
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 168
RCHME, , Little Stannon Newtake, (1989)
SX 68 SE 77, NMR, English Heritage, NMR Monument Report, (2003)
SX 68 SE 79, NMR, English Heritage, NMR Monument Report, (2003)


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

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