Two round cairns, 220m south west of Pittland Hills

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014049

Date first listed: 29-Apr-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Two round cairns, 220m south west of Pittland Hills
© 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.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Birtley

National Grid Reference: NY 88597 79219

Summary

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 some damage from antiquarian excavation the two round cairns near Pittland Hills retain significant archaeological deposits. Evidence of the manner of construction and the nature and duration of their use will be preserved within and beneath the cairns. The incorporation of cup marked stones into the cairns is unusual.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of two round cairns of Bronze Age date situated on the level top of a limestone ridge. The cairns are visible as the disturbed remains of mounds composed of stone and earth, the most northerly of the two being 12m in diameter and standing to a maximum height of 0.8m. The second, more southerly cairn is 8m in diameter and stands to a maximum height of 0.5m. The two cairns were excavated in 1885 by G R Hall when several cists or stone coffins were uncovered within the northern cairn which also contained Bronze Age pottery vessels holding the cremated remains of an adult and a child. The stones which made up the cists, and several other large stones which formed a kerb around the outside of the mound, were found to have a total of 17 cup markings on their surfaces, a form of prehistoric decoration where small circular depressions are pecked out of the stone. These cup marked stones were removed from the cairn during the excavation and cannot now be traced. The smaller cairn contained a stone cist and a pottery vessel containing a cremation as well as a small pottery cup.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 25166

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Northumberland's Prehistoric Rock Carvings: A Mystery Explained , (1983), 53, 223
Gibson, A M, Bronze Age Pottery in the North East of England, (1978), 57-8
Gibson, A M, Bronze Age Pottery in the North East of England, (1978), 57-8
Hall, G R, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 2 ser 12' in Archaeologia Aeliana 2 ser 12, (1887), 248-61
Hall, G R, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 2 ser 12' in Archaeologia Aeliana 2 ser 12, (1887), 248-61
Other
NY 87 NE 22,

End of official listing