Round cairn on Appleby Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013963

Date first listed: 27-Feb-1996


Ordnance survey map of Round cairn on Appleby Hill
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This copy shows the entry on 13-Dec-2018 at 17:28:34.


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

County: Cumbria

District: South Lakeland (District Authority)

Parish: Urswick

National Grid Reference: SD 28916 74347


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

Reasons for Designation

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite limited investigation of the monument, the round cairn on Appleby Hill survives reasonably well. This investigation located human remains, pottery and a bronze tatooing awl, and further evidence of interments and grave goods will exist within the cairn and upon the old landsurface beneath.


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


The monument includes a round cairn located on Birkrigg Common towards the northern end of a ridge known as Appleby Hill. It includes a turf and bracken covered oval-shaped mound of limestone rubble measuring 13.5m north west - south east by 12m north east - south west and up to 1m high. Limited investigation of the cairn undertaken in 1912 found a circle of standing stones measuring approximately 3.7m in diameter arranged upon the old land surface. Within this circle were upwards of 30 small deposits of black earth each covered by a large stone or a stone slab. Some of these black earth deposits were mixed with charcoal and some contained fragments of pottery; in practically every case red, green or quartz pebbles were found with the black earth. To the east, and outside the stone circle, human teeth and fragments of pot tempered with pyrites were found on the old landsurface. Within the body of the cairn fragments of bones from three human interments; an adult, a young person and a child, were found together with a bronze pin interpreted as a tatooing awl.

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: 27690

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Gelderd, C, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Some Birkrigg Barrows, , Vol. XIV, (1914), 478-72
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)

End of official listing