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HER Number:MDV8308
Name:Cairn Circle on Mardon Down

Summary

A variant on a ring cairn comprising a circular bank of earth and stones with an inner edge of orthostats. This site is included in the local list of Nationally Important Dartmoor sites. Previously described in the 19th century as a hut circle, this is now thought to be a comprehensively robbed cairn circle. Surveyed in 2017, the circle has a diameter of 8.5 metres and of the nine stones still in situ, two are upright, square-section posts, of which the tallest is 1.3 metres. The others consist of edge-set slabs and large blocks. It is likely that the circle had gaps between the stones, rather than forming a kerb with the stones touching, in which case the total number may have been about 20. Several large earthfast stones lie displaced outside the circle, and would have once formed part of it, especially on the northwest arc, where three stones appear to have fallen outwards. A number of smaller earthfast stones are scattered around, and probably represent remnants of the cairn. The cairn itself survives only as random, low hillocks within and outside the circle, with a maximum spread of 14 metres.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 767 876
Map Sheet:SX78NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishMoretonhampstead
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishMORETONHAMPSTEAD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Prehistoric ring cairn consisting of a circular ring of stones and a rather indistinct mound, part of a line of monuments along the ridge on Mardon Down

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX78NE/26
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • RING CAIRN (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC (Between))
  • CAIRN CIRCLE (Constructed, Late Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 3000 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Marked as hut circle.


Rowe, S., 1896, A Perambulation of the Forest of Dartmoor, 130-1 (Monograph). SDV249697.


Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, 268 (Monograph). SDV320981.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953 - 1981, SX78NE5 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV294991.

Site visit 21st October 1953. Circle of stones measuring 10.0 metres in diameter represents a retaining circle of a barrow which itself has practically disappeared leaving a vague inner mound surrounded by a circle of seven 'set' stones of average height of 0.8 metres, spaced at roughly regular intervals, between these are several kerb-stones.
Site visit 24th December 1981. Round cairn 11.0 metres in diameter, 0.5 metres high with a well preserved cairn circle 9.0 metres in diameter with kerbing between spaced uprights, on average 0.8 metres high. Mutilation of interior has resulted in spread of material outside cairn to north-east and south-west.


Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 157 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

Site visit 16th July 1972. Moretonhampstead 16/07/1972. Hummocky cairn with retaining circle, diameter 10.0 metres and height 0.7 metres.


Pearce, S. M., 1979, The Distribution and Production of Bronze Age Metalwork, 144 (Article in Serial). SDV322230.


National Monuments Record, 1980, NMR SF1746, 323 (Aerial Photograph). SDV294996.


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

Visible and recorded.


Griffith, F. M., 1986, Ring Cairn (Personal Comment). SDV294997.

Site visit 17th May 1986. The interior of this site is disturbed but not really a mound. The orthostats and kerbstones sit very firmly in a ring bank. I think this is not a barrow with retaining kerb but more what Frances Lynch calls an 'embanked stone circle' - a ring cairn variant.


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

B6. Embanked stone circle on Mardon Down, consisting on an annular bank of earth and/or stones with inner edge of orthostats. Stones spaced, supported by large flat stones incorporated in bank. Internal diameter measures 8.3 metres with bank 0.7 metres wide and 0.3 metres high.


Gerrard, S., 2004, List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor (Un-published). SDV345444.

This site was considered for designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument during the Monument Protection Programme. The programme ended before the entire list of sites was successfully scheduled so this is included on a local list of Nationally Important Sites.


GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

Ring cairn clearly visible on aerial photography of the area and is rather more circular than the Mastermap depiction of the feature.


Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

Marked as Cairn Circle. Rather oval-shaped depiction of the ring cairn.


Newman , P., 2017, A Stone Circle and Cairn Group on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead, Devon, 10, Fig 7, 15 (Report - Survey). SDV360188.

Cairn circle at SX 76740 87685
This monument was depicted on the Ordnance Survey 25-inch map of 1884, where it was referred to as a hut circle. In 1897 it was described by Rowe as being 30 yards (27 metres) in circumference with nine stones standing, suggestive of a ‘dilapidated cairn from which the greater part of the stones have been robbed’ (Rowe 1897, 131). This more or less describes what remains today and a Chapman photograph of c.1912 (Fig 3), confirms that the condition of this monument has changed very little in the past century (DA11942).
The circle has a diameter of 8.5 metres and of the nine stones still in situ, two are upright, square-section posts, of which the tallest is 1.3 metres. The others consist of edge-set slabs and large blocks. It is likely that the circle had gaps between the stones, rather than forming a kerb with the stones touching, in which case the total number may have been about 20. Several large earthfast stones lie displaced outside the circle, and would have once formed part of it, especially on the northwest arc, where three stones appear to have fallen outwards. A number of smaller earthfast stones are scattered around, and probably represent remnants of the cairn. The cairn itself appears to have been comprehensively robbed, as noted by Rowe, and survives only as random, low hillocks within and outside the circle, with a maximum spread of 14 metres.

Sources / Further Reading

  • 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, 70.
  • Monograph: Rowe, S.. 1896. A Perambulation of the Forest of Dartmoor. Perambulation of the Forest of Dartmoor. Unknown. 130-1.
  • Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 157.
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953 - 1981. SX78NE5. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
  • Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1980. NMR SF1746. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 323.
  • Personal Comment: Griffith, F. M.. 1986. Ring Cairn. Worksheet. Worksheet.
  • 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.
  • Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 268.
  • Article in Serial: Pearce, S. M.. 1979. The Distribution and Production of Bronze Age Metalwork. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 37. 144.
  • Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
  • Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 2004. List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor. Digital.
  • Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital. [Mapped feature: #108352 ]
  • Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
  • Report - Survey: Newman , P.. 2017. A Stone Circle and Cairn Group on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead, Devon. Southwest Landscape Investigations. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 10, Fig 7, 15.

Associated Monuments

MDV105916Part of: Cairn Cemetery on Mardon Down (Monument)
MDV12768Related to: Small circular feature on Mardon Down (Monument)
MDV80772Related to: Worked flint found on Mardon Down (Find Spot)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7270 - Survey of cairn cemetery, stone circle and other earthworks on Mardon Down

Date Last Edited:May 23 2017 11:31AM