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HER Number:MDV58789
Name:Cairnfield on the western flank of Halstock Down

Summary

A cluster of 34 small clearance cairns and fragments of an apparently contemporary field system lie on the western flank of Halstock Down adjacent to the military ring road. The cairns vary in size from 1.7 metres to 6.9 metres in diameter and stand between 0.25 and 0.6 metres high. The majority (25) of these features are sub-circular, the remainder being definitely ovoid or linear in plan. One example is square. Bank fragments are now thought to be from the later prehistoric or even historic period and may not indicate fields.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 597 922
Map Sheet:SX59SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishOkehampton Hamlets
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishOKEHAMPTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 59 SE 22
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX59SE/197
  • Old SAM Ref: 28717
  • Pastscape: 440888

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Fleming, A., 1980, The Cairnfields of North-West Dartmoor, 9-12 (Article in Serial). SDV251119.


Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 149166,22/6/1999 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

at SX59799226. Irregular aggregate field system 800 metres south of Moorgate Farm.


Greeves, T. A. P., 1998, Cairnfield (Worksheet). SDV221149.

Prehistoric cairnfield extending over area at least 150 metres by 150 metres on east side of tarmac road, about 750 metres north-east of Rough Tor. At least around two dozen discrete cairns each of approximately 3 metres diameter by 0.5 metres high (maximum). Within area are several substantial lengths of straggly and sinuous prehistoric bank.
Whole area needs careful survey. Cairnfield superficially similar to previously recorded examples on Longstone Hill and Homerton Hill which lie 3 - 4 kilometres distant. Some cairns have been dug into.


Environment Agency WMS, 1998-2016, LiDAR DSM data JPEG image (1m resolution) (Cartographic). SDV360209.

Lidar image shows the cairns as recorded.


Oates, M., 2017, Information about the field system on the western flank of Halstock Down (Personal Comment). SDV360698.

Site was visited and lidar data used to track the so-called field boundaries; thought that these do not represent fields.


Historic England, 2018, National Heritage List for England, 1999 scheduling (National Heritage List for England). SDV360653.

The monument, which falls into two areas, is overlooked by Rowtor and includes at least 29 small mounds forming a cairnfield, an irregular aggregate field system consisting of at least five fields, a stone hut circle, a cairn containing a cist, a ring cairn and two further mounds which may contain burials. Although now lying just outside the Okehampton Range, the area has been intensively used for military training in the past and scores of pits and trenches bear testimony to this activity. Most of the cairns forming the Bronze Age cairnfield lie within the south western field and stand between 0.2m and 0.7m high. Twenty-two of the mounds are circular in shape and measure between 2.5m and 5.5m in diameter. The remainder are oval and vary in length between 3m and 4.5m.


National Monument Record, 2018, Pastscape, 18/08/2003 (Website). SDV360651.

Centred SX 59739227. A cluster of 34 small clearance cairns and fragments of an apparently contemporary field system lie on the western flank of Halstock Down adjacent to the military ring road. The cairns vary in size from 1.7 metres to 6.9 metres in diameter and stand between 0.25 and 0.6 metres high. The majority (25) of these features are sub-circular, the remainder being definitely ovoid or linear in plan. One example is square.
The associated field system comprises a number of sinuous banks around 2.0 metres wide and 0.5 metres high forming an irregular and incomplete field pattern over this part of the down. Several of the cairns sit upon or continue the course of these banks and would seem to constitute preliminary clearance to supply material for the enclosure of this area.
Within the intended area of enclosure are the remains of two prehistoric sepulchral features, a small cairn containing a possible cist and the remnants of a much larger cairn (Pastscape: 1395963). The latter equates with that described in the Scheduled Monument notification (1999) as a ring cairn.
The hut circle described in 1999 in the Scheduled Monument notification is a military feature, one of many weapons pits and shell holes that also occupy this area.
Whilst resembling a Bronze Age field system the clearance cairns and banks somewhat uncharacteristically enclose what would have been contemporary sepulchral monuments and should therefore be regarded as later prehistoric or even belonging to the historic period. Similar relationships exist between Bronze Age cairns and aborted enclosures on Homerton Hill (see Pastscape 1393507).
Citing Probert, S. A. J., 18/08/2003 English Heritage Field Investigation.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV221149Worksheet: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1998. Cairnfield. Worksheet. Digital.
SDV251119Article in Serial: Fleming, A.. 1980. The Cairnfields of North-West Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 38. 9-12.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 149166,22/6/1999.
SDV360209Cartographic: Environment Agency WMS. 1998-2016. LiDAR DSM data JPEG image (1m resolution). Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. [Mapped feature: #96175 ]
SDV360651Website: National Monument Record. 2018. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website. 18/08/2003.
SDV360653National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2018. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1999 scheduling.
SDV360698Personal Comment: Oates, M.. 2017. Information about the field system on the western flank of Halstock Down. Not Applicable.

Associated Monuments

MDV60252Related to: CAIRN in the Parish of Okehampton Hamlets (Monument)
MDV60253Related to: CAIRN in the Parish of Okehampton Hamlets (Monument)
MDV60255Related to: CAIRN in the Parish of Okehampton Hamlets (Monument)
MDV22786Related to: CEMETERY in the Parish of Okehampton Hamlets (Monument)
MDV60254Related to: Destroyed cairn on Halstock Down (Monument)
MDV120734Related to: Earthwork banks on the western flank of Halstock Down (Monument)
MDV28947Related to: Military Practice Trenches to the north of Rowtor, Okehampton Hamlets (Monument)
MDV58788Related to: RING CAIRN in the Parish of Okehampton Hamlets (Monument)
MDV60257Related to: Round cairn 900 metres south of Moorgate Farm (Monument)
MDV60258Related to: Round cairn 930 metres south of Moorgate Farm (Monument)
MDV60259Related to: TRENCH in the Parish of Okehampton Hamlets (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jan 15 2018 2:05PM