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HER Number:MDV5838
Name:Cairn and cist 875 metres north west of Arch Tor


Cairn with inner retaining circle and possibly outer kerb, which has been incorporated in a boundary bank.


Grid Reference:SX 627 787
Map Sheet:SX67NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 67 NW 8
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NW/6
  • Old SAM County Ref: 368
  • Old SAM Ref: 34486
  • Pastscape: 442531

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CAIRN (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC (Between))
  • CIST (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Unknown). SDV265343.

Cairn, near Archerton House. The body of the cairn has 3 or 4 rows of upright slabs visible in it. The condition is fair, a section trench has been cut across it. Cist, the kistvaen stands on a mound which still rises in part above the level of the coverstone. The coverstone has turned aside and now rests across one corner of the kist. The west sidestone has been displaced leaving the kist completely open on that side. At either end of the kist is a large slab, approximately 152mm from the end stone and parallel to it. There is an inner retaining circle to the mound. Outside this circle is a structure, apparently a wall, 813mm wide, with outer stones set in a kerb.

Burnard, R., 1890, Notes on Dartmoor Kistvaens, 207 (Article in Serial). SDV265355.

Prowse, A. B., 1891, The Ancient Metropolis of Dartmoor, 314 (Article in Serial). SDV245176.

Baring Gould, S., 1901, 7th Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 136 (Article in Serial). SDV249499.

Worth, R. H., 1902, 21st Report of the Barrow Committee, 115 (Article in Serial). SDV20971.

Breton, H. H., 1926, The Heart of Dartmoor, Morwenstow, 35 (Monograph). SDV265360.

Worth, R. H., 1938, 57th Report of the Barrow Committee, 60 (Article in Serial). SDV320309.

Other details: Plate VIII.

Ordnance Survey, 1950, SX67NW8 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV265344.

Kistvaen, remains of. Stone circle around kist, there is an irregular stone circle around this kist. Has been mistaken for a triple circle. Triple circle round this kistvaen, 7.32m, 4.572m, and 3.048m in diameter. Inner circle of big stones, outer circle of small stones, another outer circle of still smaller stones. Mound level with capstone on the north side, half of the capstone gone. The remains of a barrow containing a fine kistvaen and what appears to be a portion of another. The more perfect kist is 914mm long, 610mm wide and 762mm deep. The coverstone has been removed from its original position and the barrow appears to have been opened on the south and west sides. The circle 6.1m in diameter is in great perfection and is uncommon for it is built of two rows of vertical stones close set, one within the other. I could find no trace of the second cist. The cist is in fairly good condition. Dimension, internally 0.8m by 0.6m and 0.9m in depth. Only half of the capstone remains and is resting on the north side. The west sidestone of the cist has fallen outwards. There is an old reave which runs right across the north side of the cist and this may account for the ruinous state of the south and west sides of the cairn, material from this part of the cairn may have been used in the making of the reave at this point. The inner circle of stones are in good condition, the middle circle of smaller stones are in a poorer condition and does not exist on the north side, the outermost circle is very poor and much despoiled and only 7 stones are visible from east to west. It seems likely that the building of the reave either covered or destroyed the second and third circles on the north side. Other details: Photograph.

1951, 540/483/4048 (Aerial Photograph). SDV265362.

Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 148 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

Cairn with inner retaining circle and possibly outer kerb. Breton claims a triple retaining circle. 'Faint indications of bone ashes' in pit covered by stone slab. Central cist placed SE/NW, possible 2nd cist claimed by Burnard. Cairn has been cut through by an old wall.

Ordnance Survey, 1979, Untitled Source (Site Visit). SDV265349.

Cairn which has been incorporated in a boundary bank. The cairn measures 8.2m E-W by 6m N-S. The S half has been partly removed exposing a cist oriented NW-SE which measures 0.9m by 0.65m by 0.95m deep. The coverstone and the SW side stone have been displaced. There is no evidence of a second cist. There appears to be 3 concentric and roughly equidistant rings of upright slabs around the cist, and these diminish in height from the centre, being approximately 0.9m, 0.5m and 0.2m high. Between the rings there is an infill of stone and earth.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1983, Middle Merripit Survey Drawing (Plan - measured). SDV321106.

Robinson, R., 1983, Untitled Source (Site Visit). SDV245177.

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

Cairn visible, but not cist, on RAF 1951 AP.

RCHME, 1989, Untitled Source (Site Visit). SDV265350.

At SX62767880. Remains of a cairn with central cist. An early 19C newtake boundary bank about 3m wide and 1m high, overlies the N half of the cairn and has here destroyed the outer periphery. Some of the content of the bank has obviously come from the cairn. The cairn, about 0.5m high appears to have been 5.8m to 6m in diameter with an outer kerb of large stones laid lengthways although only about 7 remain around the S perimeter. Set concentrically about 1m inside this kerb is a second more complete kerb of predominantly vertical stones, up to 0.9m high, with a diameter of 3.6m. The tops of some stones of this kerb are visible protruding from the overlying bank around the NE. Because of the condition of the cairn it is difficult to ascertain if infill between the kerbs in the S is original or merely debris from the robbing.
Within the centre of the cairn is a cist of 3 large slabs about 0.2m thick. Internally it is 0.8m NW-SE by 0.6 and up to 0.9m deep, constructed with double slabs on the NW and SE ends. These have been incorrectly interpreted as the inner circle by (?os). The NE slab is leaning slightly inwards. A large stone A, 1.4m long, 0.7m wide and 0.2m thick, SW of the cist, is probably the dislodged SW side slab. The coverstone B, is laid horizontally over the N side and incorporated into the boundary bank and partly covered with turf. Its true dimensions are unobtainable but it is at least 1.5m NW-SE by 0.5m wide and 0.15m thick. No trace was seen of a second cist.
There are several stones 0.6m to 2m outside the SE arc of the cairn. They are loose, irregularly set and untypical of kerbstones and while the overall diameter corresponds with the outer circle, they are undoubtedly debris from the cairn robbing.

Turner, J. R., 1990, Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor, 42, 46, 73 (Article in Serial). SDV229817.

A multiple ring setting with 5.5m diam outer ring, 3.6m inner ring around central cist. Reave crosses E-W. Along with similar cairn on Sittaford Tor (PRN 54672?) this site flanks E. Dart River.

Ancient Monuments, 2004, Untitled Source (Schedule Document). SDV320275.

Monument includes a cairn which survives as three concentric rings of edge set slabs surrounding a central cist. The northern part of the cairn is overlain by an historic boundary bank 1.3m wide x up to 0.95m high with a ditch on the northern side.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV20971Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1902. 21st Report of the Barrow Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 34. A5 Paperback + Digital. 115.
SDV229817Article in Serial: Turner, J. R.. 1990. Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 48. Paperback Volume. 42, 46, 73.
SDV245176Article in Serial: Prowse, A. B.. 1891. The Ancient Metropolis of Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 23. 314.
SDV245177Site Visit: Robinson, R.. 1983. Field Monument Warden Visit.
SDV249499Article in Serial: Baring Gould, S.. 1901. 7th Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 33. Digital. 136.
SDV265344Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey. 1950. SX67NW8.
SDV265349Site Visit: Ordnance Survey. 1979.
SDV265350Site Visit: RCHME. 1989. Field Investigation.
SDV265355Article in Serial: Burnard, R.. 1890. Notes on Dartmoor Kistvaens. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 22. A5 Hardback. 207.
SDV265360Monograph: Breton, H. H.. 1926. The Heart of Dartmoor, Morwenstow. The Heart of Dartmoor, Morwenstow. Unknown. 35.
SDV265362Aerial Photograph: 1951. 540/483/4048. RAF.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 148.
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.
SDV320275Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 2004.
SDV320309Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1938. 57th Report of the Barrow Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 70. A5 Hardback. 60.
SDV321106Plan - measured: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1983. Middle Merripit Survey Drawing. Middle Merripit Survey Drawing. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV54672Related to: BARROW in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV5836Related to: One of two cairns east of Higher White Tor (Monument)
MDV5837Related to: One of two cairns east of Higher White Tor (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV7600 - HUMAN REMAINS (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC?)

Associated Events

  • EDV8486 - Excavation of cairn, south-west of Archerton
  • EDV8645 - Powder Mills and Gawler Newtake, Duchy Farms Survey

Date Last Edited:Jun 8 2021 9:29AM