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Two stone circles, a stone avenue and a stone alignment at Great Knott, Lacra

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Two stone circles, a stone avenue and a stone alignment at Great Knott, Lacra

List entry Number: 1009111

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Copeland

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Whicham

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 25-Oct-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 26-Jul-1994

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 23736

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of upright or recumbent stones. The circle of stones may be surrounded by earthwork features such as enclosing banks and ditches. Single upright stones may be found within the circle or outside it and avenues of stones radiating out from the circle occur at some sites. Burial cairns may also be found close to and on occasion within the circle. Stone circles are found throughout England although they are concentrated in western areas, with particular clusters in upland areas such as Bodmin and Dartmoor in the south-west and the Lake District and the rest of Cumbria in the north-west. This distribution may be more a reflection of present survival rather than an original pattern. Where excavated they have been found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2000-1240 BC). It is clear that they were carefully designed and laid out, frequently exhibiting very regularly spaced stones, the heights of which also appear to have been of some importance. We do not fully understand the uses for which these monuments were originally constructed but it is clear that they had considerable ritual importance for the societies that used them. In many instances excavation has indicated that they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function, helping mark the passage of time and seasons, this being indicated by the careful alignment of stones to mark important solar or lunar events such as sunrise or sunset at midsummer or midwinter. At other sites the spacing of individual circles throughout the landscape has led to a suggestion that each one provided some form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group. Concentric stone circles comprise an arrangement of two or more stone rings set within one another. The diameter of the outer ring may vary between 20 and 330 metres, this ring comprising between 20 and 97 stones. They occur in clusters in Wiltshire, Derbyshire and Cumbria with outliers in North Yorkshire and Dartmoor. The best and most complex examples of this type are Stonehenge and Avebury. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England only 15 are of this type. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation.

A small stone circle comprises a regular or irregular ring of between 7 and 16 stones with a diameter of between 4m and 20m. They are widespread throughout England although clusters are found on Dartmoor, the North Yorkshire Moors, in the Peak District and in the uplands of Cumbria and Northumberland. There are over 100 examples of small stone circles and, as with concentric stone circles, they are a rare monument type which provide an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity. Stone alignments take the form of stones set in a single line or in two or more parallel lines up to several metres in length. They are often sited close to prehistoric burial monuments and are therefore considered to have had an important ceremonial function. As such they provide rare evidence of ceremonial and ritual practices during the Late Neolithic period to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2500-1000 BC). An avenue is a more or less parallel sided strip of ground up to about 30m wide with open terminals and side-edges defined by lines of stones, timber uprights or a low earthwork. They are generally either short and straight or long and sinuous. Often they link stone circles with watercourses, but there are exceptions. All avenues occur within groups of Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age ceremonial monuments and are considered to have had an important ceremonial function. Like stone alignments, stone avenues provide rare evidence of the ceremonial and ritual practices of their period. Despite the loss of some of the monument's stones, the two stone circles, a stone avenue and a stone alignment at Great Knott, Lacra, survive reasonably well. There are other stone circles in the vicinity, one of which contains a central funerary cairn, and together they illustrate the diversity of monument classes to be found here and the importance of this area in prehistoric times.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes two stone circles, a stone avenue and a stone alignment located on the gently sloping hillside of Great Knott, Lacra, overlooking the coastal plain of west Cumbria and the estuary of the River Duddon. It is divided into two separate areas. The northern area includes a concentric stone circle which has an inner circle of eight granite boulders in an elliptical arrangement measuring 18.2m north-south by 15.5m east-west, within which there is a large flat central stone measuring 2.4m by 1.8m which is considered to be the capstone of a cist or burial chamber. On the south east side of the inner circle are the remains of an outer circle comprising four stones arranged in such a way as to suggest this outer circle measured approximately 28.4m north-south by 25.7m east-west. Immediately to the west of the concentric stone circle there are the remains of a small stone circle which has five stones enclosing an area of approximately 5m in diameter, within which, as in the case of the concentric stone circle, there is a central stone larger than the stones forming the circle. There are gaps in both the concentric stone circle and the small stone circle, indicating that some of the original stones may have been removed. On the eastern side of the concentric stone circle there is a stone alignment which includes ten stones, some arranged in pairs, running for c.46m ENE from the circle. About 35m to the south west of the concentric stone circle, in a separate protected area, there are traces of a stone avenue, now with many of the stones on its northern side missing. A survey undertaken in 1947 indicates this avenue averaged c.15m wide and, in its present form, extends in a WSW direction for approximately 80m. In 1947 limited excavation between the northernmost of the stones forming the inner circle of the concentric stone circle located a broken inverted collared urn containing the remains of a human cremation with oak and hazel charcoal in and around it.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Dixon, J A, Fell, C I, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Some Bronze Age Burial Cairns At Lacra, Near Kirksanton, (1948), 1-22
Dixon, J A, Fell, C I, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Some Bronze Age Burial Cairns At Lacra, Near Kirksanton, (1948), 1-22
Other
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Concentric Stone Circles, (1990)
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Small Stone Circles, (1990)
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Small Stone Circles, (1990)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Avenues, (1989)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Stone Alignment, (1987)

National Grid Reference: SD 15056 81195, SD 15134 81250

Map

Map
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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 - 1009111 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 20-Jun-2018 at 08:40:48.

End of official listing