Gunnerkeld concentric stone circle

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007608

Date first listed: 30-Mar-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Feb-1993

Map

Ordnance survey map of Gunnerkeld concentric stone circle
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Shap Rural

National Grid Reference: NY 56823 17754

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of upright or recumbent stones. The circle of stones may be surrounded by earthwork features such as enclosing banks and ditches. Single upright stones may be found within the circle or outside it and avenues of stones radiating out from the circle occur at some sites. Burial cairns may also be found close to and on occasion within the circle. Stone circles are found throughout England although they are concentrated in western areas, with particular clusters in upland areas such as Bodmin and Dartmoor in the south-west and the Lake District and the rest of Cumbria in the north-west. This distribution may be more a reflection of present survival rather than an original pattern. Where excavated they have been found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2000-1240 BC). It is clear that they were carefully designed and laid out, frequently exhibiting very regularly spaced stones, the heights of which also appear to have been of some importance. We do not fully understand the uses for which these monuments were originally constructed but it is clear that they had considerable ritual importance for the societies that used them. In many instances excavation has indicated that they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function, helping mark the passage of time and seasons, this being indicated by the careful alignment of stones to mark important solar or lunar events such as sunrise or sunset at midsummer or midwinter. At other sites the spacing of individual circles throughout the landscape has led to a suggestion that each one provided some form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group. Concentric stone circles comprise an arrangement of two or more stone rings set within one another. The diameter of the outer ring may vary between 20 and 330 metres, this ring comprising between 20 and 97 stones. They occur in clusters in Wiltshire, Derbyshire and Cumbria with outliers in North Yorkshire and Dartmoor. The best and most complex examples of this type are Stonehenge and Avebury. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England only 15 are of this type. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation.

Despite limited antiquarian investigation of the central cairn Gunnerkeld concentric stone circle survives in excellent condition and appears little disturbed.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument is Gunnerkeld concentric stone circle which is located 200m south-west of Gunnerwell Farm on the top of a slight ridge. The monument includes an outer circle measuring c.30m north-south by 24m east-west of 19 large granite stones, threeof which are upright and just over 1m tall. There is an entrance on the northern side of the outer circle between two of these large stones. Within the outer circle is an inner circle measuring c.18m north-south by 16m east-west of 31 granite stones. This inner circle forms the kerb of an earth and stone cairn up to 1m high. Limited antiquarian excavation of the central cairn located a stone cist.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 22489

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. Old Ser.' in , , Vol. IV, (1880), 539
Other
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Concentric Stone Circles, (1990)
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)
SMR No. 1560, Cumbria SMR, Gunnerkeld Stone Circle, (1985)

End of official listing