showery and tolborough tors – the natural and the artefactual


interestingly these ring cairns combine both built and natural elements. the tors are surrounded by rimmed platforms seemingly to embellish the existing natural features.

showery tor cairn is a prominent landmark and consists of a natural outcrop enveloped by a giant, man-made ring cairn. the tor is 5 metres in height, the ring cairn of piled stone is 30 metres in diameter and up to 1.2 metres high. the granite tors would have protruded well above the cairn in its original form and was evidently intended as a focal point. it is possible that it had ritual connotations although it remains un-excavated with no burial cists in evidence. the tors incorporation into the cairn suggests that these rock formations also had a pre-history, a mythology that may well have extended back to the moors original inhabitants. the extraordinary forms of the original tors; the meaning and importance they held for the hunter gatherers, was in this way, transferred to the monument and what power it had put to new uses by the herders and agriculturists of the neolithic period.

this was to represent a fundamental change in outlook. from a cosmology, which was based on a mutually inclusive and un-differentiated relationship between man and nature, to one that was based increasing on differentiation and separation, one that grew out of a more sedentary, located mode of existence that typified herding and elementary farming cultures. the more man attempts to exert control over his environment the more he separates himself from nature. the monuments are themselves expressions of that change. nature challenged and nature mollified.

tolborough tor cairn              showery tor cairn
virtical scale x2