Little Meg round cairn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007627

Date first listed: 27-Oct-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Mar-1994


Ordnance survey map of Little Meg round cairn
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Glassonby

National Grid Reference: NY 57688 37477


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

Reasons for Designation

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite limited antiquarian investigation, Little Meg round cairn survives reasonably well. This investigation located human remains and pottery, and further evidence of interments and grave goods will exist within the mound and upon the old landsurface beneath. Additionally the monument is a rare example in Cumbria of a site displaying in-situ prehistoric rock art.


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


The monument is Little Meg round cairn. It is located on flat land and includes a turf-covered mound of stones and earth up to 0.3m high with maximum dimensions of 9.5m by 8m. Around the edge of the mound are ten closely spaced earthfast granite boulders, some upstanding and some recumbent, varying in height between 0.3m - 1.3m. One of these stones displays prehistoric rock carving depicting a spiral carefully linked into multiple concentric circles, the design covering the width of the rock. Limited antiquarian investigation of the cairn located eight large stones which apparently formed a circle. In the centre of the mound was an oval cist within which was an urn containing cremated bone. Two of the stones forming the cist displayed rock carving in the form of cup and ring marks. A post and wire fence on the monument's southern side is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath the fence is included.

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.


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

Legacy System number: 23659

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Cumbrian Prehistoric Rock Art: Symbols, Monument & Landscapes, (1992), 14-15
'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Proceedings, , Vol. XIII, (1913), 407
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Bowl Barrows (1988), (1988)
SMR No. 979, Cumbria SMR, Little Meg Cairn Circle, (1987)

End of official listing