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HER Number:MDV4597
Name:Cairn on Greena Ball


One of a group of four barrows on Greena Ball. This may be one of a group of peat charcoal burning platforms on Greena Ball


Grid Reference:SX 568 778
Map Sheet:SX57NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57NE/30

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • (Former Type) CAIRN (Early Bronze Age to Early Iron Age - 2200 BC to 700 BC)

Full description

Rowe, S., 1896, A Perambulation of the Royal Forest of Dartmoor and the venville precincts (Monograph). SDV249697.

Cairn 'a'. One of a group of four on Greena Ball. Diameter 8.8 metres, height 0.7 metres.

Baring Gould, S., 1900, A Book of Dartmoor, 272 (Monograph). SDV277387.

Falcon, T. A., 1905, Dartmoor: A Note on Graves, 460 (Article in Serial). SDV255372.

Newman, P., 2012, The Archaeological Legacy of the Carbonarii on Dartmoor – Interim Statement and Gazetter of Peat Charcoal Burning Sites, Greena Ball (Report - Interim). SDV356948.

Cluster of seven 'Meiler' platforms located on the north-east slope of Greena Ball. The largest three of the mounds were formerly designated as 'Tumuli' on Ordnance Survey maps.
The existence of a peat charcoal industry on Dartmoor has its origins in the 12th century or earlier. Peat charcoal was used for iron smithing and tin smelting from the Medieval period until the 19th century. It provided a major income for Dartmoor residents. Large areas of suitable peat would have been harvested and dried before being burned to produce charcoal. The platforms onto which these ‘meilers’ were constructed are the only field evidence for the process.
‘Meiler’ platforms comprise raised, usually circular, earthworks with level tops. Although similar to peat drying platforms they lack the peripheral drainage ditch and charcoal samples confirm their use. The level platform was prepared with circular tiers of dried peat bricks with horizontal vents to admit a controlled air flow.
Sites for peat charcoal burning were always on raised ground within areas of visible turf cutting and, on Dartmoor, between altitudes 465 metres and 545 metres OD. The cutting was often extensive and sometimes areas were denuded of peat. The platforms recorded so far are mostly organised in clusters at single locations suggesting that burning was undertaken at regional hubs.

National Monument Record, 2014, Pastscape, 439590 (Website). SDV355682.

Four Bronze Age barrows were alleged at this location. However, field investigation suggests that the features are more likely to be peat stacks of uncertain date.
"Four oval tumuli, in a peat bog". The fourth 'd' lies at Grid Reference SX56837788.
Site visited on 28th June 1950. Turf covered, in good condition with slight hollow in centre.
Site visited on 1st September 1978. The general appearance of these mounds suggests they are peat stacks.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV249697Monograph: Rowe, S.. 1896. A Perambulation of the Royal Forest of Dartmoor and the venville precincts. Perambulation of the Forest of Dartmoor. Unknown.
SDV255372Article in Serial: Falcon, T. A.. 1905. Dartmoor: A Note on Graves. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 37. Paperback Volume. 460.
SDV277387Monograph: Baring Gould, S.. 1900. A Book of Dartmoor. A Book of Dartmoor. Unknown. 272.
SDV355682Website: National Monument Record. 2014. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website. 439590.
SDV356948Report - Interim: Newman, P.. 2012. The Archaeological Legacy of the Carbonarii on Dartmoor – Interim Statement and Gazetter of Peat Charcoal Burning Sites. South-West Landscape Investigations. Digital. Greena Ball.

Associated Monuments

MDV107503Related to: Peat Charcoal Burning Platforms on Greena Ball, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV4228Related to: Round Barrow 'A' on Greena Ball, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV4229Related to: Round Barrow 'B' on Greena Ball, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV4587Related to: Round Barrow 'C' east of Greena Ball, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6556 - Survey of peat charcoal burning sites around Dartmoor Forest
  • EDV7441 - Condition survey of the archaeological sites of Merrivale Training Area
  • EDV7570 - Condition survey of Merrivale Range training area
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project
  • EDV8713 - Merrivale Range: Monument Baseline Condition Survey
  • EDV8813 - Archaeological and historical investigation of Peat Cutting on North-Western Dartmoor

Date Last Edited:Apr 16 2024 4:15PM