Benthall round cairn
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008430
Date first listed: 07-Mar-1974
Date of most recent amendment: 14-Apr-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: NU 23715 28908
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.
Although the round cairn at Benthall has suffered some damage as a result of the construction of an adjacent fishing store, and of natural erosion, the area of the cairn can be defined and it contains further significant archaeological deposits.
The monument includes the remains of a round cairn of prehistoric date
situated on the edge of a cliff, to the north of Beadnell harbour. The visible
remains comprise a cist, or stone coffin, situated on the edge of an amorphous
mound of boulders, pebbles and sand. The mound, which has become spread,
covers a roughly circular area 15m in diameter and stands to a maximum height
of 0.4m. A second cist is known to lie 3.5m to the south of the first but is
now not visible above ground level. Both of these cists were discovered and
partially excavated in 1934; the first, which is still visible today, is built
of large sandstone slabs orientated WNW by ESE and measures 0.9m by 0.6m and
is 0.5m deep. It contained the bones of a prehistoric burial. The second cist
measured 0.8m by 0.6m and was 0.6m deep. The removal of a covering slab of
sandstone revealed the remains of a second prehistoric burial along with a
decorated Bronze Age pottery vessel; the pot is now in the Museum of
Antiquities in Newcastle.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 1 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: 25048
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Gibson, A M, Bronze Age Pottery in the North East of England, (1978)
'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 8' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 8, (1939), 26-7
Askew, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana, 4 ser 15' in Archaeologia Aeliana, 4 ser 15, (1938), 149-155
NU 22 NW 02,
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