Trowupburn cairn group


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010333

Date first listed: 18-Mar-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Dec-1994


Ordnance survey map of Trowupburn cairn group
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Kirknewton


National Grid Reference: NT 87439 26770

Reasons for Designation

Round cairn cemeteries date to the Bronze Age. They comprise groups of cairns sited in close proximity to one another and take the form of stone mounds constructed to cover single or multiple burials. Contemporary or later `flat' graves may lie between individual cairns. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time and they can exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form. Occasionally they are associated with earlier long cairns. They may also be associated with clearance cairns - heaps of stones cleared from the adjacent ground surface to improve its quality for agricultural activities; these were also being constructed during the Bronze Age, although some examples are of later date. It may be impossible without excavation to distinguish between some burial and clearance cairns. Round cairn cemeteries occur throughout most of upland Britain; their distribution pattern complements that of contemporary lowland earthen round barrows. Often occupying prominent locations they are a major historic element in the modern landscape. Their diversity and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation.

This round cairn and its associated secondary cairns is a well preserved example situated in a prominent landscape position. It is one of a series of cairns which occupy prominent positions in this area. As such it will contribute significantly towards a fuller understanding of the funerary landscape of the Bronze Age and will contribute to the study of beliefs and social organisation amongst these early prehistoric communities.


The monument includes a round cairn with four associated secondary cairns. They are located on the summit of a spur, north of Trowupburn Farm. The location of the cairns have views to the south, east and north, but are overlooked by a hill to the west. The main cairn has a mound 1m high made of stones with an earth and turf covering. Recent clearance stones dumped on top increase the height of the cairn to 1.3m. The diameter of the main cairn is 18m. Two smaller cairns are visible to the west of the main cairn and a further two small cairns are visible to the east. These too are made of earth and turf covered stone mounds and appear to have formed secondary burials around the main cairn. The entire complex measures c.30m east-west and 18m north-south.

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: 24588

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing