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HER Number:MDV4180
Name:Cairn south of White Tor

Summary

Northernmost cairn of a group of three. Measures 4.6 metres in diameter and stands up to 0.5 metres high. Partially excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1899 and this work revealed central pits containing ashes, charcoal and flints. Centre of the mound contains a hollow indicating the location of the earlier partial excavation. Forms part of a widely dispersed group of at least fourteen cairns on the southern and eastern slopes of White Tor.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 543 783
Map Sheet:SX57NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishPeter Tavy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishPETER TAVY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX57NW13
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 439759
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57NW/61

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Baring Gould, S., 1899, Sixth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 152 (Article in Serial). SDV344950.

One of 7 barrows on the south slopes of White Tor. Excavated. All had pits containing ashes, charcoal, and some flint flakes. Some were found to be undisturbed.

Baring Gould, S., 1905, Tenth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 144-5 (Article in Serial). SDV64587.

One of three cairns, now not recognisable. Every loose stone removed, but only a piece of charcoal was found 1.5 metres from the centre.
About 700yds NE of the Wedlake settlement (Hut Circles SX 57 NW 15) and 50yds from the cart-track which crosses Peter Tavy Brook, was a heap of stones about 20ft in diam. which had the appearance of a cairn previously rifled. It stood about 4ft high in the centre, and at this location a stone was found 30" square and 1ft thick. Every loose stone was removed down to the 'culm'. But only a piece of wood charcoal was found 5ft from the centre [A}. Due south of this cairn was a small heap of stones (Y) surrounding a natural small piece of rock. Every stone was removed and the ground excavated to a depth of 30". Only a flint was found [B].
[C] Following the cart-track westward 900ft was another irregular and larger heap of stones close to the track. "We proceeded as before and found only a flint and a small quantity of charcoal". 'These last two mounds were probably the remains of some primitive habitation, but could not be described as hut circles' (positions plotted approximately from sketch plus accompanying article and centred to SX 54457825).

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950-1953, SX57NW13 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV227955.

One of a group of three cairns. References to excavation (Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 37, 1905, pg 144).
Cairns recorded at SX5439 7825, SX5451 7823 and SX5452 7827, but Fox states in 1953 that these references may not be accurate. Probably duplicates of SX57NW10.
(28/09/1950) Unable to locate any of these three cairns. The report in TDA would suggest that these cairns were completely wrecked and as the whole area is covered by turf covered stones it is now probably impossible to single out those removed during the excavations. No trace found of anything resembling a cairn in the slightest degree. As noted above the position shown on the 6" field sheet are only plotted approximately from a rather inadequate sketch plan in T.D.A vol 37.

Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 161 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

(8/3/1974) Three cairns south of White Tor. The second at SX54367838 measures 5.5 metres in diameter and 0.4 metres in height.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

Not visible on 1940 Royal Air Force vertical aerial photographs.

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset. (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

February 1992 One of 3 cairns. Diameter 4.6 metres, height 0.5 metres, with central hollow 0.7 metres square, 0.1 metres deep. Partial excavation in 1889 revealed a central pit containing ashes, charcoal and flints.

Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North, 95 (Monograph). SDV219155.

Newman, P., 2003, The Langstone Moor Stone Circle, Peter Tavy, Devon and its Prehistoric Environs, 5, Fig 2 (Report - Survey). SDV255420.

The most northerly of the group of three cairns shown on the English Heritage survey of 2003. Small disturbed cairn on the south slope of Whittor.

Newman, P., 2004, Merrivale Range Baseline Condition Survey (Report - Survey). SDV346874.

(10/08/2004) Condition is fair and mostly stable. Newman states that MDV47562 is certainly a duplicate of the cairns at SX54347836 (SX57NW10).

Probert, S. A. J., 2010, A Condition Survey of the Archaeological Sites of Merrivale Range, Dartmoor Training Area (Report - Survey). SDV360515.

Condition is fair and mostly stable. Newman states that MDV47562 is certainly a duplicate of the cairns at SX54347836.

GetMapping, 2010, GetMapping 2010 aerial photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV351585.

Cairn is visible on the 2010 aerial photography.

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

Cairn is depicted on the modern mapping at this location but is shown with a standardised cairn depiction, larger than the existing feature.

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

This monument includes three round cairns situated on a gentle south-facing slope overlooking the valley of the Colly Brook. All the cairns were partially excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1899 and this work revealed central pits containing ashes, charcoal and flints.
The northernmost cairn mound measures 4.6m in diameter and stands up to 0.5m high. Both this and the southern cairn mounds contain central hollows indicating the location of the earlier partial excavation. These cairns form part of a widely dispersed group of at least fourteen cairns on the southern and eastern slopes of White Tor.

Richards, A. F., 2017, Note about group of cairns on southern slopes of White Tor (Personal Comment). SDV360214.

This feature was recorded at SX5452 7827, based on the 1950s Ordnance Survey card data but should be located 200 metres to the north-west at current location. Duplicate deleted.

National Monument Record, 2017, Pastscape (Website). SDV359964.

Four very ruined cairns are situated on the lower slopes of White Tor, centred at SX 54457825. All four have been almost completely robbed of their stones so that they now appear as depressions bounded by a rim of stones. They correspond to 'W', 'X', 'Y' and 'Z' on Anderson's plan.
SX 54377821. 'X' has a diameter of 6.0m. and is 0.5m. deep, with a rim 1.3m. wide.
SX 54497822. 'Y' has a diameter of 6.0m. and is 0.4m. deep.
SX 54497827. 'Z' has a diameter of 8.0m. and is 0.5m. deep, with a rim 1.0m. wide.
SX 54247818. 'W' is a depression 3.0m. in diameter and 0.5m. deep with upcast material forming a bank 1.0m. wide and 0.2m. high. In the centre is the base of an iron marker pole for the military ranges. Sites only surveyed at 1:10 000 on P.F.D.
On the south-facing slopes of White Tor are three possible cairns in a group. The northerly cairn is a mound of stones of diameter 5.0m. and height 0.5m. (citing Ordnance Survey notes, 14/10/1978).
Centred SX 54347836. Three small turf covered cairns lie on a slight south facing slope in an area covered by moorland pasture, scattered boulders and numerous grass tumps and anthills. Constructed of small boulders and stones these were presumably rebuilt after the 19th century excavations (citing article, 1899).
B. SX 54357837. 4.6m in diameter and 0.5m in height with a small pit in the centre. (See related records for other details).
Grinsell numbers these cairns 30, 31 and 32 respectively (1978). Two other cairns depicted on the RCHME App 1/10000 transcript to the east of the group cannot be traced on the ground and probably do not exist (citing Fletcher, M. J., Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments in England Field Investigation, 18/11/1987).

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 31/08/2021 (Website). SDV364039.

(05/02/1988) The area shown on Anderson's plan of 1905 occupies a S facing hill slope of cropped rough grassland. To the W of the present MOD Range boundary Posts the slope is strewn with quite dense clitter but this thins out to the E. The features noted by Anderson can all be identified on the ground, but they are now in such a poor state that definite classification is impossible.
'X' SX54367822 A platform measuring overall 5m N-S by 6m with a maximum height of 0.5m. A large earthfast pointed stone lies near the centre. Debris of small stones appears to have been dumped in a crescentic arc around the lower S side. The whole is turf-covered with possible crude kerb or facing ones apparent in places. Described by authority 2 as "probably the remains of some primitive habitation" this may well have been a hut circle.
'Y' SX54487823 A rather amorphous area approximately 6m N-S by 8m. There is a slight scarp around the southern 'arc' and also several large earthfast stones but they do not form a definite pattern or kerb. Roughly central to the area is a rectangular hollow 0.2m deep and about 2.6m N-S by 2.2m which appears to have been excavated. Described by authority 1 as "probable habitation" site.
'Z' SX54487828 An almost circular turf-covered stony mound 7.5m N-S by 8m transversely overall and 0.7m in height (on the S downhill side). It has a central depression approx. 3m diameter and 0.3m deep. There are two large earthfast stones, one in the NW of the central hollow, the other on the edge of the mound in the S; both have been displaced and do not appear to be kerb stones. Described by authority 1 (Ordnance Survey) as a 'cairn'.
'W' SX54257820 A hollowed almost circular, turf-covered mound 5.2m N-S by 4.6m. The centre has been robbed revealing a stony interior. One or two large earthfast stones are evident around the SE, but there is no trace of a definite kerb. There are the remains of a hollow iron post and concrete footings in the centre showing its use by the MOD. The circle is too amorphous to confirm as a definite cairn. Although authority 1 depicts the site on his plan there is no description in the text.
'A' SX54297821 A group of about four ?natural boulders which appear to have had the central area filled with small stones. The whole forms a roughly circular area about 5.3m N-S by 4.3m and is 0.6m maximum height. Built on the slope it could possibly be a small cairn or stone clearance heap but there is insufficient evidence to confirm this classification.
'B' SX54407823 A small mound of turf-covered stones measuring about 2.5m N-S by 4.5m and 0.6m maximum height built on sloping ground. Very similar to 'A' but there is not enough evidence to confirm this classification.
'C' SX54437821 A crude mound of turf-covered stones measuring 3.5m N-S by 4.5m transversely and 0.5m high with earthfast rock on its E side. Similar to 'A' and 'B' but of doubtful antiquity.
'D' SX54377814 (16m due N of MOD marker post). A hollowed area approximately 6m N-S by 5m transversely and of 0.5m maximum depth on its S side. There is no trace of any stone content. The debris from the hollow has been dumped around the S side and there is an apparent gap in the E side. This does not appear to be an antiquity and is almost certainly associated with the M.O.D (citing Royal Commission, ISS, 05/02/1988).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV219155Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Two. Paperback Volume. 95.
SDV227955Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950-1953. SX57NW13. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV255420Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2003. The Langstone Moor Stone Circle, Peter Tavy, Devon and its Prehistoric Environs. English Heritage Archaeological Investigation Report. 25. A4 Comb Bound. 5, Fig 2.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 161.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV344950Article in Serial: Baring Gould, S.. 1899. Sixth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 31. Digital. 152.
SDV346874Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2004. Merrivale Range Baseline Condition Survey. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Report. Unknown.
SDV351585Aerial Photograph: GetMapping. 2010. GetMapping 2010 aerial photographs. Getmapping. Photograph (Digital). [Mapped feature: #91215 ]
SDV359962Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2017. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV359963National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2017. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV359964Website: National Monument Record. 2017. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website.
SDV360214Personal Comment: Richards, A. F.. 2017. Note about group of cairns on southern slopes of White Tor. Not Applicable.
SDV360515Report - Survey: Probert, S. A. J.. 2010. A Condition Survey of the Archaeological Sites of Merrivale Range, Dartmoor Training Area. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 31/08/2021.
SDV64587Article in Serial: Baring Gould, S.. 1905. Tenth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 37. Digital. 144-5.

Associated Monuments

MDV4137Part of: CAIRN CEMETERY in the Parish of Peter Tavy (Monument)
MDV4181Related to: Cairn south of White Tor (Monument)
MDV4182Related to: Cairn south of White Tor (Monument)
MDV69504Related to: Possible cairn on southern slope of Whittor (Monument)
MDV69503Related to: Prehistoric Cairn on the south slope of Whittor (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7275 - Survey of the Langstone Moor stone circle and other prehistoric monuments nearby
  • EDV7441 - Condition survey of the archaeological sites of Merrivale Training Area
  • EDV7570 - Condition survey of Merrivale Range training area
  • EDV8713 - Merrivale Range: Monument Baseline Condition Survey

Date Last Edited:Aug 31 2021 10:24AM