Three round cairns on Thirl Moor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008883

Date first listed: 23-Nov-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Feb-1993


Ordnance survey map of Three round cairns on Thirl Moor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Alwinton


National Grid Reference: NT 80611 08347

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.

The three cairns on Thirl Moor survive in a good state of preservation and are good examples of their type. Their archaeological deposits are largely undisturbed and will contain valuable evidence relating to their construction and the nature and duration of their use.


The monument includes three large cairns of Bronze Age date situated in a row on the summit of Thirl Moor. All are constructed of unusually small stones and do not display traces of ditches or retaining circles of stone. The most northerly cairn, on the highest point of the moor, survives very well despite the construction of a modern cairn at its centre to support a flagstaff; it measures 15m in diameter and is 1.3m high. Some 13m south of this cairn there is a second, more massive cairn measuring 19m in diameter and up to 2m in height. Immediately south lies the third and best preserved cairn, measuring 15m in diameter and up to 1.7m in height.

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: 20916

Legacy System: RSM


NT 80 NW 01,
NY 80 NW 01,

End of official listing