Round cairn on Harland Edge


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Round cairn on Harland Edge
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SK 28899 68754

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.

Through excavation, this multi-phase Bronze Age burial cairn has revealed substantial evidence important to the understanding of prehistoric settlement in the East Moors of the Peak District. Although excavation was extensive, the cairn nevertheless retains sufficient intact archaeological remains still to be considered of national importance in view of its proximity to other Bronze Age cairns and its association with a relict Bronze Age landscape.


The monument is located on a south west facing shelf below the crest of Harland Edge which is in the area of the eastern gritstone moorlands of the Peak District commonly known as the East Moors. It includes a large, roughly circular, gritstone cairn with a diameter of c.18m and a height of c.1m. This was partially excavated in 1961-62 by Riley who found that the centre had previously been the site of an unrecorded antiquarian delve. The disturbed part of the cairn was found to contain fragments of two pottery food vessels, cremated bone, a flint arrowhead and two pottery urns of differing kinds. On the old land surface beneath these remains, the burnt bones of several individuals were found together with evidence of scorching, indicative of an in situ cremation. Three grave-pits were also found on the old land surface beneath the cairn. One, a 2m deep rock-cut grave, contained evidence of a crouched inhumation, a flint tool and charcoal which has been radiocarbon dated to c.1750 BC. Another pit, which was covered by a boulder and contained flint knives, a food vessel inverted over the burnt bones of at least two individuals and the fragments of a second food vessel, has been dated to c.1490 BC. The third pit contained further cremated remains and an inverted food vessel while, at the base of the cairn, further flint artefacts were discovered with an inverted collared urn and a further cremation. These remains, together with evidence that more than one gritstone kerb may have existed around the edge of the cairn, indicate that the monument may have been constructed in more than one phase during the Early Bronze Age. It is one of several cairns to be found on Harland Edge, all of which have been assigned to the Bronze Age on the basis of form, excavated evidence and their proximity to the extensive Bronze Age field systems occurring below Harland Edge on Beeley Moor and Beeley Warren.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 63-64
Riley, D N, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in An Early Bronze Age Cairn On Harland Edge, Beeley Moor, Derbys., , Vol. 86, (1966), 31-53
Barnatt, John, (1993)


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

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