Sandyford Moor cairn cemetery


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NU 10105 26809


Sandyford Moor cairnfield and cup-marked rocks, 700m west of Chatton Sandyfords.

Reasons for Designation

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture, and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC), although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size, content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period.

Sandyford Moor cairnfield and cup-marked rocks 700m west of Chatton Sandyford are reasonably well-preserved. Partial excavation has revealed the cairnfield contains not only clearance cairns but also burial cairns. The cairnfield has greater value by being a large group and also by being in association with several cup-marked rocks. The close relationship between the two Neoltihic/Bronze Age monument types is a particular feature of upland occupation during this period of prehistory. Taken as a group, the monument is a good example of its class and will inform us of the varied nature of upland occupation during the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Excavation has indicated that the monument will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction and use.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 May 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a large group of cairns of Bronze Age date centred around the crest of a ridge running along Camp Hill and Whitehill Head and the ground between them. The group includes at least 150 small cairns and two larger examples. One of the larger cairns and five of the smaller cairns were subjected to excavation in 1965-1966 by Newcastle University. The excavation revealed the larger cairns to be approximately 12.1m in diameter and 0.9m in height. The cairn has a basal platform surrounded by a strong, well-built kerb. Within the cairn were three beaker inhumations and two cremations, one of which was within an pottery vessel known as an Enlarged Food Vessel. The cairn exhibits more than one building phase and typically for burial mounds; the original cairn attracted subsequent burials. The cairn subsequently had a series of stock enclosures built on to its side, partly using stones taken from the cairn. Excavation of the smaller mounds produced fewer finds and these are understood to be a mixture between burial mounds and field clearance cairns. One of the cairns contained a cup-marked stone whilst another covered a pit containing charcoal which produced an Early Neolithic radiocarbon date. At least three cup-marked rocks have also lie in situ amongst the cairnfield.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
ND 197
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:- 1321304


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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