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2 January 2012
Ancient burial chamber on Dartmoor restored

A prehistoric monument on Dartmoor (Devon, England) has been restored to its previous condition after a stone that had been removed for laboratory analysis was returned.
     Beads, worked leather and cremated human remains have been discovered in a cist, or burial chamber/chest, at Whitehorse hill after it was removed by Dartmoor National Park Authority's archaeology and conservation works teams. There are roughly 200 cists on Dartmoor, all hidden in the ground or inserted into barrows.
     The Whitehorse hill cist is unique as it is the only known example set within a peat mound. It was first discovered 10 years ago when one of the side stones fell out of the peat mound. Over time, the peat has slowly eroded away revealing more of the cist and its contents.
     After several failed attempts to protect it as a scheduled monument, Dartmoor National Park Authority and English Heritage decided to excavate it in order to recover any surviving archaeological and environmental information before it was lost. One of the stones that was excavated from Dartmoor has now been safely returned, while the contents of the cist remain a subject of scientific study at Wiltshire Conservation Service laboratory in Chippenham.

Edited from This is South Devon (27 December 2011)

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