Cairn on Harland Edge


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


Ordnance survey map of 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 29302 68574

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.

This particular cairn on Harland Edge exhibits an unusual form which includes well preserved architectural features and illustrates well the diversity in funerary practices associated with Bronze Age communities. Although there is a possibility that the central part of cairn has been disturbed, the monument appears otherwise intact and retains substantial archaeological remains. The monument also forms part of a wider relict Bronze Age landscape which includes other burial cairns and ceremonial and settlement evidence. It appears to be the only burial cairn of exactly this type so far identified.


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 an ovoid gritstone cairn, measuring 8.5m north west-south east by 6m, which is retained by a low kerb of stones broken, to the north east and south west, by entrances. On either side of these entrances, the kerbstones increase in height and terminate in radially set portal stones which originally stood c.1m high. Between the two entrances, within the interior of the cairn, is a roughly oval shaped hollow which appears to have had a level floor and which measures c.6m north east-south west by 3m. It is lined on the south side by a line of gritstone orthostats with an average height of c.0.5m. It is not clear whether this hollow and stone setting have always been open or whether they represent the remains of a cist which was originally covered over. There has been no documented excavation of the monument but the hollow may have been the site of an unrecorded antiquarian delve. A Bronze Age date is assigned to the cairn on the basis of its complex form and proximity to other burial cairns on Harland Edge, and also its association with 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 W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 64
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
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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