Benthall round cairn


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1008430.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 29-Nov-2021 at 06:44:23.


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

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:
Legacy System:


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].