Embanked small stone circle at Harker Mires on Harkerside Moor

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012612

Date first listed: 30-Jun-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Embanked small stone circle at Harker Mires on Harkerside Moor
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Richmondshire (District Authority)

Parish: Grinton

National Park: YORKSHIRE DALES

National Grid Reference: SE 03522 97620

Summary

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.2400-1000 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. A small stone circle comprises a regular or irregular ring of between 7 and 16 stones with a diameter of between 4 and 20 metres. 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. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England, over 100 are examples of small stone circles. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation.

Embanked stone circles are a type of small stone circle in which the ring of upright stones is immediately surrounded by an earthen bank. The stones may appear to revet the bank. Identified examples are clustered in the Peak District, with a small number found in Wales, Northern England and Scotland. This is an undisturbed and therefore well preserved example of this monument type.

History

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

Details

The monument is situated in thick heather on a north facing slope above the lower reaches of Swaledale on Harkerside Moor. It includes a substantial stone bank up to 3m wide, the inner face of which is marked by seven upright stones 0.3m-0.6m high. A single entrance is located on the east side. The monument has a diameter of 20m.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 24539

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
Laurie, T, Harker Mires, (1994)

End of official listing