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HER Number:MDV4997
Name:Remains of a ring cairn, Merrivale


Ring cairn forming part of a cluster of Neolithic and Bronze Age ritual features at Merrivale. Within the guardianship area managed by Dartmoor National Park Authority.


Grid Reference:SX 553 747
Map Sheet:SX57SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishWALKHAMPTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/106
  • Old SAM County Ref: 333
  • Old SAM Ref Revised: 12/01/1996
  • Old SAM Ref: 24193

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CAIRN (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, SX57SE7 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV277233.

Remains of cairn with a retaining circle measuring 19.5 meters in diameter that can be traced for the full circuit. The cairn itself is much despoiled and none of the original mound remains. There is an inner concentric circle of stones, 4.5 meters in diameter within which is a hollow area 0.3 meters deep.

Kempe, A. J., 1829, Untitled Source, 430 (Article in Serial). SDV277235.

Spence Bate, C., 1871, Prehistoric Antiquities of Dartmoor, 508, II (Article in Serial). SDV277110.

Baring Gould, S., 1895, Second Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 87, plan (Article in Serial). SDV271711.

Ordnance Survey, 1906, 106NE (Cartographic). SDV249909.

'Cairn (remains of)' marked on Ordnance Survey 6 inch (1906) map.

Ordnance Survey, 1952, Untitled Source (Cartographic). SDV258807.

Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 172 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

Site of cairn, shown on 6 inch Ordnance Survey map sheet as 'cairn circle'. According to Baring-Gould, 'in 1851 it disclosed remains of a kistvaen or inner circle, and an outer ring of stones'. Diameter measures 18.0 meters, height 0.3 meters.

NMR, 1979, SF1510/174 (Aerial Photograph). SDV277238.

Ordnance Survey, 1980, Ordnance Survey Field Investigator Notes (Site Visit). SDV277227.

1851 excavation appears to have completely destroyed the structural remains of both cairn and 'cist or inner circle'. There is now a circular turf-covered area 18.0 meters in diameter, with random stones protruding through the surface. Off-centre is a hollow, 7.0 meters by 4.0 meters by 0.5 meters deep.

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

Visible and recorded.

Turner, J. R., 1990, Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor, 38, 60, 70 (Article in Serial). SDV229817.

B2. Turner describes this site as an embanked stone circle; an annular bank of earth and/or stones with an inner edge of orthostats. Internal diameter measures 15.0 meters with bank 1.6 meters wide and 0.4 meters high. Much disturbed possible cist in centre. Only three stones left.

Butler, J., 1994, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West, 30-31 (Monograph). SDV137656.

Remains of a large cairn 20 meters across almost entirely removed for road repairs after 1851, marked by uneven ground surrounded by traces of an outer bank.

Gerrard, S., 1995, 133488 (Site Visit). SDV277231.

Ring cairn forming part of a cluster of Neolithic and Bronze Age ritual features, including at least three stone alignments, a stone circle, 13 cairns and a standing stone. Lies 11.0 meters south of a stone alignment. The cairn survives as a circular bank, 1.4 meters wide and 0.3 meters high surrounding an internal area measuring 15.0 meters in diameter. A 5.0 meter by 3.0 meter by 0.5 meter deep central hollow represents the site of a partial excavation carried out by Baring-Gould in 1851. This work revealed a cist or inner circle of upright stones and an outer kerb. A ring of small upright stones visible around the edge of the central hollow may represent the remains of one of these kerbs. A mound lying immediately next to and west of the central hollow, measures 5.0 meters by 3.0 meters by 0.3 meters high is probably the spoil dump from the mid 19th century exploration.

Department of National Heritage, 1995, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV321020.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for works concerning repairs to sections of the leat.

Griffith, F. M., 1996, DAP/ABF, 3-6 (Aerial Photograph). SDV319876.

Probert, S. A. J., 2000, The Merrivale Guardianship Area, Walkhampton, Devon, 5 (Report - Survey). SDV344969.

Cairn exists as a stony rim averaging 2.2 meters wide, 0.3 meters high and 20.0 meters in diameter enclosing a cratered interior. The largest of the internal hollows, slightly off-centre, is probably the cist or inner circle previously referred to.

Dartmoor National Park + English Heritage, 2004, Merrivale: An Archaeological Landscape, 16 (Leaflet). SDV320201.

DCMS, 2004, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV320025.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for works concerning a five year programme of management works including erosion repairs.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Sources / Further Reading

  • Monograph: Butler, J.. 1994. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West. Three. Paperback Volume. 30-31.
  • 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. 38, 60, 70.
  • Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1906. 106NE. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 6 inch Map. Map (Paper).
  • Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1952. 25".
  • Article in Serial: Baring Gould, S.. 1895. Second Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 27. Digital. 87, plan.
  • Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 172.
  • Article in Serial: Spence Bate, C.. 1871. Prehistoric Antiquities of Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 4. 508, II.
  • Site Visit: Ordnance Survey. 1980. Ordnance Survey Field Investigator Notes.
  • Site Visit: Gerrard, S.. 1995. 133488. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset..
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey. SX57SE7.
  • Article in Serial: Kempe, A. J.. 1829. Archaeologia. 22. 430.
  • Aerial Photograph: NMR. 1979. SF1510/174.
  • 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.
  • Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1996. DAP/ABF. Devon Aerial Photograph. 3-6.
  • Correspondence: DCMS. 2004. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter.
  • Leaflet: Dartmoor National Park + English Heritage. 2004. Merrivale: An Archaeological Landscape. A5 Stapled. 16.
  • Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1995. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter.
  • Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #93644 ]
  • Report - Survey: Probert, S. A. J.. 2000. The Merrivale Guardianship Area, Walkhampton, Devon. English Heritage. 1247982. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 5.

Associated Monuments

MDV5000Related to: Cairn associated with stone row, Merrivale (Monument)
MDV28496Related to: Cairn south of the Stone Row B, Merrivale (Monument)
MDV103582Related to: Cairn west of the Merrivale double stone rows (Monument)
MDV103583Related to: Cairn west of the Merrivale double stone rows (Monument)
MDV14795Related to: Merrivale Stone Row B, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV3757Related to: Probable ring cairn, Merrivale (Monument)
MDV5001Related to: Short stone row, Merrivale (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 6 2017 3:39PM