Madam Law Cairn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010335

Date first listed: 21-Dec-1994


Ordnance survey map of Madam Law Cairn
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 09:27:06.


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 86249 26713


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

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 is a good example which appears to be intact. It is visible from a large area and is one of a series of cairns stretching from Tuppie's Grave to Trowupburn and north to Coldsmouth Hill. As such, this cairn 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 early prehistoric communities.


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


This monument includes a round cairn situated on high ground overlooking land to the south, north and east, but overlooked by a hill to the south west. The cairn was built of stone, but is now turf covered and measures 13m in diameter. It has been built slightly off the summit of the hill to the south west, resulting in the cairn being taller on the west downhill side than on the east uphill side. The cairn therefore has a maximum height of 1.5m on the north west side and a minimum height of 0.3m on the south east side. In addition a modern cairn of stones has been placed on top of the mound, but slightly to the south west. A modern fence has been erected along the southern edge of the mound. This fence is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath it is included.

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: 24592

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing