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HER Number:MDV5932
Name:Cairn with cist on Chittaford Down


Cairn between Roe Tor and Cherrybrook, visible as a turf covered stony mound, 8 metres in diameter and 0.6m high. Excavated in 1900 by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee when human remains and a stone archer's wrist-guard were recovered beneath one of the side stones of the cist.


Grid Reference:SX 636 794
Map Sheet:SX67NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX67NW3
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 442516
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NW/62
  • Old SAM County Ref: 920
  • Old SAM Ref: 34489

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Baring Gould, S., 1901, 7th Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 135 (Article in Serial). SDV249499.

Archerton Newtake, between Roe Tor and Cherrybrook, two cairns and pits in subsoil beneath. Burnt bone in cist and an archer's wrist guard fashioned from a fine, gritty stone and rubbed down smooth, perforated at each corner, two of the holes on reverse side are countersunk to accommodate the knots of the thongs which bound the guard to the wrist. The obverse is slightly convex and the reverse concave.

Worth, R. H., 1902, 21st Report of the Barrow Committee, 110 (Article in Serial). SDV20971.

Burnard, R., 1906, Early Man, 361 (Article in Monograph). SDV322231.

Brailsford, J. W., 1938, Bronze Age Stone Monuments of Dartmoor, 458 (Article in Serial). SDV304210.

Worth, R. H., 1938, Untitled Source, 60 (Article in Serial). SDV249515.

Other details: Plate VI.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950/1978, SX67NW3 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV249500.

(23/06/1950) Kistvaen, remains of. The two side stones and two end stones are in place, the cover stone is missing. The north east side stone is 1.5m long, the south west side stone 1.1m long, the north west end stone is 0.4m long and the south east end stone is 0.5m long. Internal width is 0.5m and internal length 1.2m. The present depth of the kistvaen is 0.7m at its south east end. The kistvaen is set in a barrow 6m in diameter and 0.5m high. Of the possible retaining circle four stones remain. Other details: Sketch, Plan and Photograph.
(08/09/1978) At SX 63677946 on Chithaford Down is a cairn of diameter 8.0m and height 0.6m, with seven stones of a peristalith protruding through the turf. There is a central cist oriented north west/south east consisting of two-side stones and two end-stones, one of which is displaced.
The cist measures 1.3m x 0.5m. internally and is 0.65m deep.
Surveyed at 1:10 000 on PFD.

RAF, 1951, 540/483/4047-8 (Aerial Photograph). SDV249517.

Ancient Monuments, 1972, Untitled Source (Site Visit). SDV249501.

A stone cist 6m by 1.3m in size set within a small mound, now only just noticeable with an approximately diameter of 5m. The monument is situated in grassland forming rough pasture for cattle and ponies.

Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 147 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

Diameter of mound 7.2m, height 0.3m. Diameter of circle is 5.3m. Cairn with retaining circle of which 7 stones are clearly visible enclosing cist, placed SE/NW. Excavated by Baring-Gould. Centre of cist contained a pit with wood charcoal and flint flake, also an archer's wrist guard. Finds in Plymouth City Museum.

Robinson, R., 1983, FMW (Site Visit). SDV245177.

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

One cairn just visible at SX63677946 on RAF 1951 AP. Two cairns and pits visible

Robinson, R., 1986, Untitled Source (Site Visit). SDV320302.

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1987-1993, Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit (Report - Survey). SDV350839.

(24/08/1989) At SX63687945. Cairn visible as a turf covered stony mound, 7.8m in diameter and 0.5m height. Seems only slightly disturbed. A few stones are visible around the periphery but no true kerb. A central cist measured 1.5m NW-SE by 0.5m internally and is 0.7m deep. The NE slab is 1.5m long and 0.25m thick; the SW slab is 1.2m long 0.15m thick and the SE end slab 0.5m wide 0.2m thick. This end is formed by a `sandwich' of two slabs though, only the top of the outer one is evident, about 0.3m by 0.3m. The NW end slab is missing as is the corner slab. A large partly turf covered slab laid flat on top of the cairn in the NE may be the missing end slab as it is too small for a cover. The stone recorded at the NW end by Worth, 1938 and OS, 1978 is now laid loose in the bottom of the cist. It is 0.3m by 0.25m by 0.15m and appears too small to have been the NW end slab.

Turner, J. R., 1990, Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor, 48, 75 (Article in Serial). SDV229817.

Platform circle. Ring of kerbstones, internal diameter 4.5m enclosing flat-topped 0.2m high, with central cist. Other details: E28.

Ancient Monuments, 2004, Untitled Source (Schedule Document). SDV320287.

The monument provides an insight into Bronze Age funerary and ritual activity as well as providing information concerning territorial control on the moor.

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

Depicted on the modern mapping.

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

The monument includes a cairn and cist situated on a north east facing slope on Chittaford Down overlooking the valley of the East Dart River.
The cairn survives as an 8m diameter mound standing up to 0.6m. The periphery of the mound is denoted in places by edge set stones denoting the survival of a kerb. In the centre of the mound is a cist which survives as a rectangular pit denoted on three sides by edge set slabs. The cist is orientated north west-south east and measures 1.3m long, 0.5m wide and up to 0.65m deep.
The cairn was partially excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1900 and this work revealed a pit below the cist containing charcoal and a flint flake. More significantly, below one of the side stones of the cist an archer's stone wrist-guard was found.

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. 110.
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. 48, 75.
SDV245177Site Visit: Robinson, R.. 1983. FMW. 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. 135.
SDV249500Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950/1978. SX67NW3. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV249501Site Visit: Ancient Monuments. 1972.
SDV249515Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1938. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 70. 60.
SDV249517Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1951. 540/483/4047-8.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 147.
SDV304210Article in Serial: Brailsford, J. W.. 1938. Bronze Age Stone Monuments of Dartmoor. Antiquity. 12, Issue 48. Digital. 458.
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.
SDV320287Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 2004.
SDV320302Site Visit: Robinson, R.. 1986. Field Monument Warden Visit.
SDV322231Article in Monograph: Burnard, R.. 1906. Early Man. Victoria History of the County of Devon. 1. A4 Hardback. 361.
SDV350839Report - Survey: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1987-1993. Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey. Unknown.
SDV359962Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2017. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #96420 ]
SDV359963National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2017. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV12753Related to: Hut circle on Chittaford Down (Monument)
MDV20480Related to: Powder Mills Leat (Monument)
MDV5833Related to: Reave between Lower White Tor and Chittaford Down (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV5878 - ARM GUARD (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC?)
  • FDV5877 - HUMAN REMAINS (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC?)

Associated Events

  • EDV632 - Excavation of cairn, Chittaford Down
  • EDV8648 - Middle Merripit Farm, Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project
  • EDV8423 - Duchy Farms Project

Date Last Edited:Feb 14 2022 9:32AM