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HER Number:MDV6677
Name:Cairns on Merripit Hill


Three cairns noted on the edge of a hut circle settlement on Merripit Hill. Unclear whether these are ritual or clearance cairns as they may have been hut circles that have been covered with loose stone.


Grid Reference:SX 653 805
Map Sheet:SX68SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX68SE25
  • National Monuments Record: SX68SE79
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 443811
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 443879
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68SE/93

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • (Alternate Type) ROUND BARROW (Constructed, Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))
  • (Alternate Type) CLEARANCE CAIRN (Constructed, Early Medieval to Early 20th Century - 1066 AD (Between) to 1901 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, SX68SE25 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV258562.

Possible tumulus noted to the north-east at SX65398060 (28/02/1950). Recorded as doubtful by Worth, R. H., 09/12/1948.

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

Not visible on Royal Air Force / National Monuments Record aerial photographs.

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

(03/03/1989) SX65368055. A low stony mound on the gentle western flank of Merripit Hill is represented as a double hut circle. It measures 9.5 metres north-south by 5.8 metres east-west externally and 0.6 metres high. On the top are two adjacent depressions roughly 2.5 metres in diameter and 0.2 metres deep.
No entrances are visible. This appears to be a cairn, the depressions probably represent unrecorded antiquarian excavations.
Two other cairns at SX65418046 and SX65408053 are also depicted as hut circles. The former is a well-defined mound 5.2 metres in external diameter and 0.5 metres high. It has a slight lip around a central sub-circular depression around 3 metres in diameter and 0.2 metres deep. Two blocks, one recumbent and one upright lie on the northern margin of the mound. They do not seem to mark on entrance.
The disturbed mound at SX65408053 measures 5.7 metres east-west by 4.7 metres north-south and 0.5 metres high. An off-centre hollow 0.3 metres deep measures 1.5 metres north-south by 2.5 metres east-west. This mound lies adjacent to a short length of prehistoric wall though no relationship is discernible.
It is uncertain whether these three cairns, on the north-east side of a small settlement, are ritual or clearance cairns. If the latter it is possible that at some distant time, stone has been heaped upon hut circles.

Richards, A. F., 2017, Cairns on Merripit Hill (Personal Comment). SDV360167.

These three cairns lie on the edge, or just within the scheduled area of DDV21298, but are not referred to in the scheduling description and appear to have been overlooked.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV258562Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey. SX68SE25.
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.
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. S. Probert.
SDV360167Personal Comment: Richards, A. F.. 2017. Cairns on Merripit Hill. Not Applicable.

Associated Monuments

MDV19553Related to: Hut circle settlement on Merripit Hill (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV671 - RCHME Field Investigation
  • EDV8649 - Little Stannon Newtake, Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project
  • EDV8423 - Duchy Farms Project

Date Last Edited:Apr 11 2022 1:48PM