Drizzlecombe 4

Central length of the row. View from the south west.

A possible single stone row measuring 149m long, including at least 34 mainly small-sized stones together with some medium stones situated on a south west facing slope. The row is orientated north east to south west, there is a cairn at the upper (NE) end. The row stands near three other rows, several cairns and prehistoric settlements and has visual links with Brent Tor, the sea and promontories.

Location

England Devon Dartmoor SX 59374 67361 Lat 50.489073     Long -3.983833

Map showing the location of Drizzlecombe 4 stone row.

Simplified plan showing the location of Drizzlecombe Row 4 relative to the other rows and cairns (Source: Google Maps, Butler, J. 1994, 136 and fieldwork by ACE Archaeology Club members).

Plan of Drizzlecombe Row 4 stone row (Source: Survey at 1:500 by ACE Archaeology Club).

Characteristics

Type: Single Length: 149m
No. of stones: 34 Size of stones: Small and medium
Orientation: 48° Altitude: 368m
Upper end: Cairn Lower end: –
Straight (Yes or No)  : No Sea View: Yes
Context:  Cairns, cists, stone rows, prehistoric settlements and enclosures
Notes:

Other Information

Public Access:  Yes
Land Status: National Park
Scheduled Ancient Monument: No

Identification

Category: Possible. For most of its length this site looks like a robbed out stone row. The length at 149m is almost the same as Drizzlecombe Row 3 and the orientation is almost identical to Drizzlecombe Row 1. The presence of the mutilated cairn at the upper end of the row, precise visual link with Brent Tor, the edge set character of many of the stones, a possible cairn next to the row all strongly suggest that this is a stone row.  It is probably the site identified by Burl, but shown in the wrong location on his plan of the site (Burl, A., 1993, 114). Doubts regarding its authenticity revolve around a short length where underlying stones are exposed introducing the idea that it may be a surface exposure of a clitter stream. It is of course possible that an existing natural line of stones was enhanced.  Despite the strong fieldwork evidence that this line of stones is likely to be the remains of a fourth stone row at Drizzlecombe, the possibility of a natural origin means that it would be prudent to categorise this row as possible until further work is conducted.

Typology

This stone row is of Type S10. Information on this form of stone row and other rows of this type is available here.

Individual Stones

Plan showing the position of the numbered stones. Stone 25 is off line but looks edge set and therefore whilst not strictly part of the row it probably formed a constituent part.

A photograph of each stone appears below.  The scale is 50cm long.

Stone 1                                                                                                   Stone 2

Stone 3                                                                                                   Stone 4

Stone 5                                                                                                   Stone 6

Stone 7                                                                                                   Stone 8

Stone 9                                                                                                   Stone 10

Stone 11                                                                                                Stone 12

Stone 13                                                                                                Stone 14

Stone 15                                                                                                 Stone 16

Stone 17                                                                                                 Stone 18

Stone 19                                                                                                Stone 20

Stone 21                                                                                                Stone 22

Stone 23                                                                                                Stone 24

Stone 25                                                                                                Stone 26

Stone 27                                                                                                Stone 28

Stone 29                                                                                                Stone 30

Stone 31                                                                                                 Stone 32

Stone 33  on right and stone 34 on left                                                Stone 34

Feature A (SX 59305 67312)

A circular platform cut by a later leat may be the remnants of a cairn or more likely a prehistoric round house.

Feature B (SX 59277 67278)

An arrangement of set stones adjacent to the row may represent the remains of a contemporary structure. Alternatively it could be natural, although the consensus amongst the ACE members was that it was more likely to be artificial. A badly robbed cairn seems the most likely explanation.

View from south west (Scale 50cms).

View from the north (Scale 50cms).

View from south (Scale 50cms).

Standing Stone (SX 59370 67374)

Standing stone. View from the south.

View from north west with the ranging rod in background denoting the position of the cairn at the head of the row (near scale 50cms and far scale 1m).

The stone with Brent Tor peeking from behind the near horizon. View from south east.

Cairn at head of row (SX 59374 67361)

The cairn at the top of the stone row has been partly robbed but enough remains to indicate that it was about 9m in diameter and whilst now only about 0.3m high would have originally stood taller. View from south west (Scales 1m).

The cairn stands within an area of low vegetation presumably as a result of its high stone content. View from north west (Scale 1m).

The cairn survives as an earthwork. View from north with the Drizzlecombe ritual complex beyond (Scale 1m).

Photographs

Looking south west along the central length of the row.

Looking north east along the central part of the row.

Landscape Comment

The most obvious visual link is provided by the distant and distinctive Brent Tor. From the cairn at the top of the row Brent Tor is clearly framed between Sharpitor and Leeden Tor but soon disappears as you walk south westward along the row.

 

Distinctive Brent Tor is visible from the top of the row. It appears in a saddle between Shapitor and Leeden Tor. 

After only 4m Brent Tor rapidly disappears behind the near hillside. 

At SX 59362 67351 only 12.5m from the top of the row Brent Tor disappears.

Promontories

Promontories are commonly visually linked with stone stone rows. At Drizzlecombe Row 4, Penlee Point, Dodman Point and the Lizard are all clearly visible to the naked eye. Heywhatsthat illustrates the character and extent of the viewshed from the top of the row. It proved impossible to photograph the distant promontories, despite the fact they could be seen.

Penlee Point viewed from the top of the row.

Later in the day the sea and distant promontories viewed from the middle of the row. Despite the fact that even the Lizard and other distant promontories could be seen the light meant it was not possible to photograph them.

Acknowledgements

This possible stone was found during a search for the fourth row shown by Burl on his plan of the Drizzlecombe complex by a group of Megalithic Portal members on 15th May 2019. The site was subsequently surveyed by ACE Archaeology Club on 7th September 2019.  I would like to thank everyone involved and refrain from mentioning everybody by name only because to do so would inevitably result in someone being omitted.  Apologies for this.  Some of the photographs were taken by Janet Daynes for which many thanks. With the completion of this survey, I now find myself in the position for the first time in years of having no further examples to visit. I am sure others will be brought to my attention, but for the moment the”to visit” column on my spreadsheet is empty.  I would like to thank everyone I have met along the way who have helped me in a variety of ways and it was perhaps fitting that the “last site” involved over 20 people in way one or another.   

Access Information

Car parking is available at SX 57887 67306. The row is about 1400m east of the car park across open moorland.

Online Resources 

Megalithic Portal     Megalithic Portal     Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks

Other References

Burl, A., 1993, From Carnac to Callanish – The prehistoric rows and avenues of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press, New York and London, pgs. 114 and 215.


First Published: 28th September 2019

Last Updated: 30th September 2019

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