MMO148 - Disputed Bronze Age cairn southeast of Dunkery Beacon (Non-antiquity)


A possible Bronze Age cairn was purported to be in this location; however, this appears to have been the result of a misreading of an early source. The feature may just be a whitish patch of stone.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 89394150 - Mark on aerial photograph at `B' - Nothing on the ground. [1] 'B' is visible on aerial photographs at SS 8943 4152 and is a circular patch of small stones. It may be the site of a completely robbed cairn. [2-3] A very much flattened area of stone "probably used for beacon fires judging from the number of reddened stones indicating fire, especially on the north side" lies a short distance southeast of Dunkery Beacon. It is very rough and uneven, with a diameter of about 66 feet. Close against its northwestern side is a small mound of unknown purpose 22feet north to south and 27 feet east to west, with rounded corners and a deep oblong depression in the middle. There is also another small 'shaped' work close to the south side. [4] The mark noted by Grinsell [1] at SS 8943 4152 was probably sourced from RAF aerial photographs [5]. The same photographs were used by [2] whose report "visible on aerial photographs… as a circular patch of stone" seems to have been misread to become "visible on aerial photographs… is a circular patch of stone". Subsequent authorities have assumed a cairn when, from personal knowledge I am aware that nothing was found. The same mark occurs on Ordnance Survey aerial photographs [6] and on Meridian Air Maps [7]; in all cases it appears as a whitish patch about 20 metres in diameter. It is indistinct on an RCHME aerial photograph [8]. The site has been visited by various authorities and nothing has been found to substantiate the suggestion that it represents a cairn, and there is certainly no mound as recorded by Western Air Photography. [9] Positionally, on a ridge top, it is reasonable, but nothing is currently to be seen in heather on an area that was swaled about eight years ago. In the area erosion has exposed amorphous patches of stone, which in any case is very near the surface, and all aerial photographs depict a number of these. [10] Approximately one metre to the southwest of MSO11156, immediately to the west of MEM22811, a pale circular area strongly resembles a cairn, but this may be the feature described by Quinnell as a pale area of rock, and not archaeological in origin. Nonetheless, it has been transcribed by the National Mapping Project until further work can clarify this issue. [11]

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <1> Archive: English Heritage. National Monuments Record / AMIE / Monarch entry - viewable via Pastscape. LV Grinsell, Corrected 6 inch Ordnance Survey map, Undated.
  • <2> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 21 June 1965.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. CPE/UK/1980/1472-3 11 4 47.
  • <4> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1969. Somerset Barrows, Part 1: West and South. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Nat. 113.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. CPE/UK/1980/4269-70 (14 April 1947).
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. Ordnance Survey 73/109/957.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. Meridian Air Maps 48/76/068 (26 June 1976).
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. SS8941/1/1097 (20 April 1982).
  • <9> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey. 8941.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. Site visit, 12 August 1987.
  • <11> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SE. MD002185.



Grid reference SS 8943 4151 (point) (Aerial survey)
Map sheet SS84SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11157
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO9188
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE15
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35995
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33487

Record last edited

Dec 15 2014 1:19PM


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