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HER Number:MDV15159
Name:Circular feature north-west of stone circle on Mardon Down


Previously described as a possible cairn, this feature is located approximately 18 metres north-west of the stone circle. This site is included in the local list of Nationally Important Dartmoor sites. Surveyed in 2017 and cannot be definitively confirmed as a sepulchral monument; may be a natural feature.


Grid Reference:SX 767 872
Map Sheet:SX78NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishMoretonhampstead
Ecclesiastical ParishMORETONHAMPSTEAD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Prehistoric stone circle and earthworks of three well-preserved Bronze Age cairns, part of a line of monuments along the ridge on Mardon Down

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX78NE/61
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CAIRN? (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Greeves, T. A. P., 1982, Stone Circle on Mardon Down (Worksheet). SDV305595.

The feature may once have once have been a ring bank with central mound. This could be the real 'Giants Grave'. Not mentioned by Grinsell (1978).

Gerrard, S., 2004, List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor (Un-published). SDV345444.

This site was considered for designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument during the Monument Protection Programme. The programme ended before the entire list of sites was successfully scheduled so this is included on a local list of Nationally Important Sites.

GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

Area of cairn visible on recent aerial photography of the area.

Newman , P., 2017, A Stone Circle and Cairn Group on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead, Devon, 7, Fig 5 (Report - Survey). SDV360188.

Cairn (MDV19003) SX 76723 87230
This earthwork, which sits 18m north of the stone circle, has in the past been recorded as a cairn. However, there has to be some uncertainty over this because, apart from its location (on a hilltop and associated with other prehistoric monuments), the layout of the surviving earthworks make it very difficult to interpret precisely.
The earthworks appear random but vestiges of what might have been a bank forming part of a perimeter runs around the northeast and west sides, although this is breached on the northern corner and cannot be traced along the southern side. The central area of the feature is slightly raised and embanked in places, with a natural granite outcrop on its western corner, which appears undisturbed. Some additional detached slabs of stone appear to be naturally placed moorstone and probably do not form part of a monument. The total spread of the earthworks is 24m at the broadest point, and the central mound is 0.4m high.
It is possible therefore that an inner mound or platform, which incorporated a natural outcrop, has become disturbed and misshapen, but was once surrounded by an outer bank, thus perhaps representing the earthworks of a sepulchral monument. However, insufficient evidence survives in an intact state to be certain.
Surveyed at 1:200.

Richards, A. F., 2017, Comment regarding the numbering in Newman's Mardon Down report (Personal Comment). SDV360190.

Numbering of the two cairns (MDV19003 and MDV15159) has become transposed in Newman's report; although he refers to this cairn as being MDV19003, the description and grid reference confirm it is MDV15159.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Unknown, SX78NE19 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV305597.

Site visit 16th April 1978. An amorphous and un-surveyable mound of stone and earth which may represent the site of a cairn. Height 0.4 metres, diameter 8.0 metres. (16/4/1978)
Site visit 22nd December 1981. A much despoiled cairn, now grass and furze-covered, 15.0 metres in diameter, 0.5 metres high and 0.8 metres high on the north where there is a residual rim. SX76778722 given as national grid reference.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV305595Worksheet: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1982. Stone Circle on Mardon Down. Worksheet. Digital.
SDV305597Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Unknown. SX78NE19. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV345444Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 2004. List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor. Digital.
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
SDV360188Report - Survey: Newman , P.. 2017. A Stone Circle and Cairn Group on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead, Devon. Southwest Landscape Investigations. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 7, Fig 5. [Mapped feature: #81469 ]
SDV360190Personal Comment: Richards, A. F.. 2017. Comment regarding the numbering in Newman's Mardon Down report. Not Applicable.

Associated Monuments

MDV105916Part of: Cairn Cemetery on Mardon Down (Monument)
MDV119184Related to: Bank on Mardon Down (Monument)
MDV8290Related to: Finds from Cairn on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead (Find Spot)
MDV8289Related to: Mardon Down Stone Circle, Moretonhampstead (Monument)
MDV19003Related to: Ring Cairn to north-west of Stone Circle on Mardon Down (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7270 - Survey of cairn cemetery, stone circle and other earthworks on Mardon Down

Date Last Edited:May 23 2017 10:28AM