MDE1204 - Prehistoric clearance cairns on Fyldon Common (Monument)


A series of small mounds and lines of stones. In 1977, four of the stone spreads and piles were excavated and were thought to be early clearance cairns. There were no traces of the features in improved pasture in 1995.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

SS 741 361 In an area of about 3 acres at Shallowmead, on what was once North Molton Common and is now being reclaimed, various small mounds and compact lines of stones have been located by members of the North Devon Archaeological Society and the Exmoor Society. One of the sites examined was an arc of sandstone slabs, each about 18 inches by 10 inches, with a few quartz ones interspersed, all carefully placed end to end in an unmistakable half circle with a radius of five paces. Whether the stones were used for secular or for religious purposes is uncertain. [1] SS 741 361 This area is enclosed ground on fairly steep southwest facing slopes with an elevation of about 410 metres. The name Shallowmead does not appear on Ordnance Survey maps [2-4] and appears to be a local field name, but this was not confirmed. In 1977 a ring cairn (MDE1206) in the same field was excavated and "four other areas consisting of small spreads or piles of stones" were also investigated by the University of Exeter Extra Mural Department. The exact areas were not specified; however, it is presumed that the "small spreads or piles of stones" mentioned by [5] were the same as the "various small mounds and compact lines of stones" mentioned by [1]. One (pile of stones) was considered definitely, the others probably, manmade. The soil beneath them had leached suggesting that the heaps were of considerable antiquity, probably connected with some early attempt at land clearance. One or two flints were found on each of these sites. Since 1977 the area has been drained and is now improved pasture with scattered rough grass. There is now no trace of the features referred to by sources [1] or [5]. Note: The National Grid Reference for this site is exactly the same as for the site MDE1206 which was excavated and interpreted as a ring cairn. For further details see that site. [6] Also found during excavation were stone heaps and irregular banks which could not be positively dated. [7] The site was visited by the Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. [8] The stones are mentioned in The Standing Stones of Exmoor. [9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Serial: Devon Archaeological Society. 1975 -. Devon Archaeological Society newsletter. Volume 7 (1977), 5.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1890 (Surveyed 1888), Devon 11(10).
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904 (Revised 1902), Devon 11(10).
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1980. 1:10000 Map, 1980. 1:10000. SS 73 NW.
  • <5> Report: Miles, H.. 1977. Excavations at Shallowmead, North Molton, Devon: Interim report.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 12 October 1995.
  • <7> Article in serial: Quinnell, H.. 1997. Excavation of a ring cairn and other features at Shallowmead. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 55. 15-36.
  • <8> Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Record Card. SS73NW19.
  • <9> Article in serial: Fowler, M.J.F.. 1993. Standing Stones of Exmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 125. p 170.
  • <10> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35062, Extant 24 November 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS73NW/526
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NW19
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35062



Grid reference SS 741 361 (point)
Map sheet SS73NW

Finds (1)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Nov 24 2021 2:41PM


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