Ring cairn 25m east of Ell Clough


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009117

Date first listed: 12-Nov-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 26-Jul-1994


Ordnance survey map of Ring cairn 25m east of Ell Clough
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lancashire

District: Burnley (District Authority)

Parish: Briercliffe

National Grid Reference: SD 90125 34145


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

Reasons for Designation

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by fieldwork and ground level survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite a combination of partial mutilation and limited antiquarian investigation, the ring cairn 25m east of Ell Clough survives reasonably well. This investigation located human remains, animal bones, pottery and metalwork, and further evidence of interments and grave goods will exist at this monument.


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


The monument includes a ring cairn located on enclosed moorland 25m east of Ell Clough. It includes a partly mutilated slightly oval circle of stones which originally formed part of a ring bank measuring 17.6m north-south by 16.8m east-west. There are two rectangular hollows at the centre of the monument which mark the site of limited antiquarian investigation undertaken in 1887 during which a number of loose stones covering a flagstone or cist were found. Beneath this flagstone was an urn measuring 12 inches high which contained bones of two humans, an adult and a child, together with animal bones and a bronze pin or awl four inches long.

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: 23728

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnes, B, Man and the changing landscape, (1982), 100
'Trans Lancs & Chesh Antiq Soc' in Proceedings-Stone Circles and Ancient Relicts at Extwistle, , Vol. II, (1893), 159
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Small Stone Circles, (1990)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Ring Cairns, (1989)

End of official listing