MSO10403 - Bronze Age quarry pits north of Dunkery Beacon (Monument)


A group of quarries are thought to be the source for the material used to create the cairn group on Dunkery Beacon (MSO9187).

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The diameters of the Dunkery cairns, if not their height, has necessitated vast quantities of stones, only a small proportion of which were likely to have been available as surface material. The shortfall was evidently acquired by quarrying for the abundant periglacial stones just beneath the surface. Grinsell noted quarry pits at Joaney How, 2 kilometres north east of Dunkery (MSO7397), and at the nearby Robin How (MSO6251) they extend for 10 metres from the base of the cairn, at intervals around the perimeter. That it is also a common occurrence on the Dunkery ridge seems to have been ignored by field workers, e.g. quarries associated with the Rowbarrows (MSO9183, MSO9184, MSO9185). At Dunkery Beacon most quarrying is below the crest on the northern side of the ridge, to within 30 metres of the nearest cairn but out of sight. At least 27 pits, centred at SS 8913 4165, extend as a contourfollowing band 100 metres long and 25 metres wide. In form they vary from the sub-circular, 2.5 metres across, to rectilinear hollows, irregular, but about 12 metres long and 4 metres wide. Depths range from 0.3 to 0.7 metres, but since all have a covering of peaty soil and heather the working depth was clearly greater. Northward again between 20 and 40 metres from the pits there is a sharp local drop on the hillside resulting in four more or less parallel scarps with some exposed stone. Each is about 80 metres long and 1.2 metres high with intermediate terraces (these have not been surveyed). [1] The possible quarry pits to the north of cairn group MSO9187 has been partly transcribed, albeit in a schematic fashion; it is only partly visible on most vertical photographs, and although clearly visible on a number of oblique photographs, with limited control available these could not be fully rectified. [1]

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 5 August 1987.
  • <2> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SE. MD002185.



Grid reference Centred SS 8910 4166 (160m by 61m)
Map sheet SS84SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE14
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35990
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 18817

Record last edited

Jun 29 2016 2:43PM


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