A chambered tomb and two bowl barrows on Minning Low


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of A chambered tomb and two bowl barrows on Minning Low
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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 20935 57290

Reasons for Designation

Chambered tombs are funerary monuments constructed and used during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They comprise linear mounds of stone covering one or more stone-lined burial chambers. With other types of long barrow they form the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly within the present landscape. Where investigated, chambered tombs appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment. The number of burials placed within the tombs suggests they were used over a considerable period of time and that they were important ritual sites for local communities. Some 300 chambered tombs are recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as upstanding monuments, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and longevity as a monument type, all chambered tombs are considered to be nationally important.

The chambered tomb at Minning Low is a reasonably well preserved example containing rare intact architectural features as well as significant areas of undisturbed archaeological remains. Like several other Neolithic barrows in the Peak District it is situated adjacent to a later barrow site: in this case, to two Bronze Age bowl barrows which are also well preserved. The entire monument illustrates the continued use of Neolithic burial foci during the Bronze Age and demonstrates changing burial customs during these periods. In addition, the chambered tomb is the largest in Derbyshire and is of an unusual type common to the Peak District in which the burial chambers are covered by a sub-circular or oval barrow instead of the more typical linear form.


Minning Low hill lies within the south-eastern uplands of the limestone plateau of Derbyshire. The monument includes the chambered tomb and two bowl barrows within a single constraint area which also incorporates the archaeologically sensitive areas between and around the earthworks up to, but not including, the encircling drystone wall.

The chambered tomb is the easternmost of these earthworks and comprises an oval cairn measuring 45m by 38m and surviving to a height of 2.4m. A wedge-shaped chamber of limestone slabs (Chamber I) survives with its capstone in situ at the centre of the mound, while a second complete chamber (Chamber II) lies c.5m to the south and also retains its capstone in addition to part of its south-facing passage which is similarly covered by a capstone. The remains of Chamber III lie c.5m to the west, while those of Chamber IV lie near the edge of the barrow c.6m south of Chamber III. The collapsed slabs of Chamber V lie on the western edge and a single upright slab near the centre of the barrow has been interpreted as the remains of a small cist. During the partial excavations of the site by Thomas Bateman in 1843 and 1851, the mound was found to be constructed of coursed stone and the chambers to contain human bones, including one extended skeleton, fragments of Romano-British Derbyshire ware pottery and a number of Roman coins. The latter show that the barrow had been disturbed in the third or fourth century AD, but Beaker sherds found by Bateman in Chamber IV indicate a Late Neolithic or Bronze Age date for that particular chamber. This represents the latest phase of Prehistoric use since further excavation, carried out by Barry Marsden in 1973-4, has led to the barrow being interpreted as a multi-period site, beginning with the construction of Chamber I and its drystone walled approach passage in the Early Neolithic period. There is no precise chronology for the remaining phases but an extended period of use throughout the Neolithic and into the Early Bronze Age is indicated. Marsden also found evidence of Roman re-use of the site in three Roman bronzes and pottery sherds recovered from Chamber III. He also found a drystone wall running through the north-west side of the barrow. This was traced for c.10m and was orientated east-west.

The two bowl barrows lie c.25m north-west of the chambered tomb. The second of these is superimposed onto the first so that, together, they form an oval mound measuring 23.5m by 16.5m and standing c.2m high. The two were partially excavated by Thomas Bateman in 1849 when the earlier was found to be a limestone cairn containing a central primary cist which had been disturbed at an earlier date. A secondary cremation burial was also found, dating the barrow to the Bronze Age. The later bowl barrow was of earthen construction and contained an in situ primary cremation, two flint knives, a burnt bronze razor and a bone tool. This barrow also dates to the Bronze Age, indicating an extended period of use at this site. Like the chambered tomb, both barrows had been disturbed in the Roman period.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Bateman, T, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, (1849), 39-40
Bateman, T, Ten Years Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave-Hills, (1861), 54-5
Bateman, T, Ten Years Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave-Hills, (1861), 54,82-3
Bateman, T, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, (1849), 39-40
Marsden, B M, The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire , (1977), 12
Marsden, B M, The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire , (1977), 4
Manby, T G, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in The Chambered Tombs of Derbyshire, , Vol. 78, (1958), 25-39


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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