Cop Low oval barrow


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008057

Date first listed: 04-Oct-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Jan-1994


Ordnance survey map of Cop Low oval barrow
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)

Parish: Hazlebadge

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 16627 79134

Reasons for Designation

Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early to Middle Neolithic periods, with the majority of dated monuments belonging to the later part of the range. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds of roughly elliptical plan, usually delimited by quarry ditches. These ditches can vary from paired "banana-shaped" ditches flanking the mound to "U-shaped" or unbroken oval ditches nearly or wholly encircling it. Along with the long barrows, oval barrows represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, oval barrows have produced two distinct types of burial rite: communal burials of groups of individuals, including adults and children, laid directly on the ground surface before the barrow was built; and burials of one or two adults interred in a grave pit centrally placed beneath the barrow mound. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that they may have acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Similarly, as the filling of the ditches around oval barrows often contains deliberately placed deposits of pottery, flintwork and bone, periodic ceremonial activity may have taken place at the barrow subsequent to its construction. Oval barrows are very rare nationally, with less than 50 recorded examples in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all oval barrows are considered to be nationally important.

Cop Low is believed to be a rare example of an intact oval barrow and, as such, contains undisturbed archaeological remains.


The monument is an oval barrow located above Coplow Dale in the north-eastern shelves of the limestone plateau of Derbyshire. It includes an oval mound which is slightly wider at the eastern end and measures 18m from east to west and between 8m and 10m from north to south. It is c.0.5m high but sits at the summit of a rise which adds to its apparent height. It also appears to be partly natural, incorporating some large earthfast limestone boulders in addition to loose rock and soil. In the past, the monument was identified as the barrow called 'Cop Low' which was excavated by Bagshawe in 1863. It is now thought, however, that this may have been a different site and that the monument has not been excavated. Oval barrows date to the Neolithic period.

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: 23259

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Marsden, B M, The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire , (1977), 57
Addy, S O, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in The Names of the Derbyshire and Staffordshire Barrows, , Vol. 30, (1908), 103-41

End of official listing