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HER Number:MDV6886
Name:Triple stone alignment and cairn 780 metres east of Cawsand Beacon

Summary

Triple stone row east of Beacon (also known as Cosdon Beacon). Upper end of the rows is in fine condition but there is some damage to the middle section where the South Zeal peat track crosses the alignment. Below the track the stones rapidly thin out and decrease in height, many showing just above the ground level. Very likely most of the missing stones remain in position but completely covered by turf and hopefully intact. The length from the centre of the cairn to the last visible stone is 146 metres, but if the large triangular slab lying across the rows further downhill is taken to be a blocking stone at the original termination the length increases to 176.5 metres. Some stones were re-erected in 1896 by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 644 915
Map Sheet:SX69SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishSouth Tawton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSOUTH TAWTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX69SW/19
  • Old SAM County Ref: 784
  • Old SAM Ref: 24143

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • STONE ALIGNMENT (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Worth, R. N., 1892, The Stone Rows of Dartmoor, 392-394 (Article in Serial). SDV237176.

Worth suggests that two phases are represented: one row for the standing stone, two rows for the cairn. He refers to retaining circles for both elements, and suggests that each had at least two circles. Some digging into the northernmost row is reported.


Baring Gould, S., 1896, Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 180 (Article in Serial). SDV260468.


Falcon, T. A., 1905, Dartmoor: A Note on Graves, 458 (Article in Serial). SDV255372.


Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, 64 (Monograph). SDV320981.


Brailsford, J. W., 1938, Bronze Age Stone Monuments of Dartmoor, 451, 448, plan (Article in Serial). SDV304210.

The plan published suggests that beyond the trackway there is only a double row.


Worth, R. H., 1946, The Stone Rows of Dartmoor. Part 1, 300-301, Row No. 33. (Article in Serial). SDV251172.

(Row No. 33) There is a cairn at the west end containing the remains of two kistvaens (see related record) there is no formal termination at the western end. At about 70 metres from the west end there is a slight change in direction and the rows turn somewhat north. They are thus convex to the south to the extent of some 1-1.5 metres, and this makes a western and eastern section of the rows, between which some differences exist.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950-1952, SX69SW17, 9/8/1950 - 25/06/1952 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV224255.

The accounts by Worth are correct. There are three blocking stones at the western extremities of this triple row situated between the row and the cairn. The rows are reasonably intact between the cairn and the trackway. From the track to the eastern termination the rows become somewhat fragmentary and the stones are very much smaller.


Grinsell, L. V., 1953, The Ancient Burial-Mounds of England, 130 (Monograph). SDV223394.


Worth, R. H., 1967, Worth's Dartmoor, 218-9 (Monograph). SDV337618.


National Monument Record, 1977, NMR SX6492 (Aerial Photograph). SDV224262.


Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 169, (Grinsell + Turner) (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

30/5/1976 From the cairn a triple stone row descends to east. Diameter 6.5 metres, height 0.5 metres.


Emmett, D. D., 1979, Stone Rows: The Traditional View Reconsidered, 107, 111 (Article in Serial). SDV251087.


Weston, S., 1982, List of Field Monument Warden Visits (Un-published). SDV345675.

Visited in July / August. (Letter to SMR 6/8/1982).


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Visible on aerial photographs and recorded on map overlay.


Turner, J. R., 1990, Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor, 48, 74, E15 (Article in Serial). SDV229817.


Hayward, J., 1991, Dartmoor 365: An Exploration of Every One of the 365 Square Miles in the Dartmoor National Park, 31 (Monograph). SDV224267.


Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North, 204-6, Map 40.6 (Monograph). SDV219155.

Triple alignment of stones that must have been impressive when first erected. The upper end of the rows is in fine condition despite the evidence of stone working in the vicinity. Some damage has been caused to the middle section where the South Zeal peat track crosses the alignment but even here two stone remain stranded in position between the ruts. Below the track the stones rapidly thin out and decrease in height, many showing just above the ground level. Very likely most of the missing stones remain in position but completely covered by turf and hopefully intact.
The length from the centre of the cairn to the last visible stone is 146 metres, but if the large triangular slab lying across the rows further downhill is taken to be a blocking stone at the original termination the length increases to 176.5 metres. Heights gradually increase uphill towards the cairn. The tallest are those nearest to the cairn and a pair 0.8 metres high, 24 metres from its edge stand almost opposite a large slab set outside the rows to the north, the significance of which is unclear. Packing stones at the base of the former suggest that these have been re-erected, possibly incorrectly, at right angles to the rows. Along the western half the stones of the north row are noticeably taller than the other two, 0.4 metres on average as opposed to 0.34 and 0.33 metres high. The distance between the three rows remains fairly constant along the length of the alignment at 1.4 metres, but the distance between the stones along the rows decreases with their height eastwards, from 1.6 to 1.3 metres. Despite being intervisible throughout its length there is a noticeable curve to the north of about 3 degrees as the alignment progresses eastwards.
Uphill the rows end symmetrically at a ruined cairn (MDV48906), the middle row orientated towards it centre. The Dartmoor Exploration Committee re-erected an unknown number of fallen slabs in the rows in 1896 when they also excavated the cists. These included those at right angles in the middle and south rows next to the cairn. The end stone was already in this position when the site was first described by Worth in 1892.
Map object based on this source.


Gerrard, S., 1992-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 133295, 17/1/1994 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

Known locally as 'the cemetery' or 'the graveyard'. A 138 metres long, triple row of at least 118 stones whose heights gradually increase uphill towards the cairn. The tallest stones stand up to 1 metre high, whilst many of those at the e end protrude only a short height above the ground. Many stones at the eastern end probably survive as buried features, and the e terminal point is consequently not visible at ground level.
At the western end are three blocking stones up to 1 metres high. The distance between the 3 rows remains constant at 1.4 metres, but the distance between the stones along the alignments decreases eastwards, from 1.6 metres to 1.3 metres. There is a marked curve in the alignments of about 3 degrees to north from a point 70 metres from the western end. An unknown number of stones, including at least two of the blocking stones, were re-erected in 1896.


Quinnell, N. V., 1995, Comment regarding the stone rows east of Cosdon Down, 22/3/1995 (Personal Comment). SDV224264.

Runs from approximately SX64339162 to SX64479160 (around 140 metres long).


Radcliffe, B., 2000, Detail of stone row east of Cosdon Down (Correspondence). SDV224270.

Radcliffe states that the triple row with remains of two kistvaens on Cosdon is the same as SX69SW/48.


Ordnance Survey, 2017, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359962.

'Stone Row' is depicted on the modern mapping. Map object based on this source.


Historic England, 2017, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV359963.

This monument includes a triple stone alignment, a cairn and short length of hollow way situated on a gently sloping natural shelf on the eastern side of Cawsand Hill (also known as Cosdon Hill) at the head of Cheriton Combe.
The stone alignment, known locally as The Cemetery or The Graveyard, is orientated from WNW to ESE and includes a 138m long, triple row of at least 118 stones whose heights gradually increase uphill towards the cairn. The tallest stones stand up to 1m high, whilst many of those at the eastern end protrude only a short height above the ground. Many stones at the eastern end probably survive as buried features, and the eastern terminal point is consequently not visible at ground level. At the western end of the alignments there are three blocking stones standing up to 1m high. The distance between the three rows remains constant at 1.4m, but the distance between the stones along the alignments decreases eastwards, from 1.6m to 1.3m. There is a marked curve in the alignments of about 3 degrees to the north from a point 70m from the western end. In 1896 members of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee re-erected an unknown number of stones, including at least two of the blocking stones.
The stone alignments are cut through by a hollow way which represents part of a track leading from South Zeal to Hangingstone Hill. This track was probably originally used to carry peat from the moorland and may date from the medieval period. Within the monument the trackway survives as two parallel hollow ways. The western hollow way measures 3m wide and 0.7m deep, whilst the eastern example is 3m wide and 1m deep.

Sources / Further Reading

  • Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Two. Paperback Volume. 204-6, Map 40.6.
  • Monograph: Grinsell, L. V.. 1953. The Ancient Burial-Mounds of England. The Ancient Burial-Mounds of England. Unknown. 130.
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950-1952. SX69SW17. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index. 9/8/1950 - 25/06/1952.
  • Aerial Photograph: National Monument Record. 1977. NMR SX6492. National Monument Record Aerial Photograph. Unknown.
  • Personal Comment: Quinnell, N. V.. 1995. Comment regarding the stone rows east of Cosdon Down. Not Applicable. 22/3/1995.
  • Monograph: Hayward, J.. 1991. Dartmoor 365: An Exploration of Every One of the 365 Square Miles in the Dartmoor National Park. Dartmoor 365: An Exploration of Every One of the 365 Square Miles in the Dartmoor National Park. Paperback Volume. 31.
  • Correspondence: Radcliffe, B.. 2000. Detail of stone row east of Cosdon Down. Email. Digital.
  • Article in Serial: Turner, J. R.. 1990. Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 48. Paperback Volume. 48, 74, E15.
  • Article in Serial: Worth, R. N.. 1892. The Stone Rows of Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 24. Digital. 392-394.
  • Article in Serial: Emmett, D. D.. 1979. Stone Rows: The Traditional View Reconsidered. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 37. Paperback Volume. 107, 111.
  • Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1946. The Stone Rows of Dartmoor. Part 1. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 78. A5 Hardback. 300-301, Row No. 33..
  • Article in Serial: Falcon, T. A.. 1905. Dartmoor: A Note on Graves. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 37. Paperback Volume. 458.
  • Article in Serial: Baring Gould, S.. 1896. Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 28. Unknown. 180.
  • Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 169, (Grinsell + Turner).
  • Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1992-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 133295, 17/1/1994.
  • Article in Serial: Brailsford, J. W.. 1938. Bronze Age Stone Monuments of Dartmoor. Antiquity. 12. 451, 448, plan.
  • Interpretation: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
  • Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 64.
  • Monograph: Worth, R. H.. 1967. Worth's Dartmoor. Worth's Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 218-9.
  • Un-published: Weston, S.. 1982. List of Field Monument Warden Visits. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
  • Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2017. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
  • National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2017. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV48906Related to: Cairn with cists associated with triple stone row east of Cawsand Beacon (Monument)
MDV27940Related to: Field system north-east of Cheriton Combe on South Tawton Common (Monument)
MDV52440Related to: Trackway from South Zeal to Hangingstone Hill, South Tawton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:May 22 2017 2:27PM