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Bronze Age cairnfield and cup and ring marked stone 550m north west of Middleton Dean

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Bronze Age cairnfield and cup and ring marked stone 550m north west of Middleton Dean

List entry Number: 1015640

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Ilderton

National Park: NORTHUMBERLAND

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 15-Apr-1997

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29310

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture, and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC), although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size, content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period.

Commonly found in the vicinity of cairnfields are examples of prehistoric rock art. It is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of upland Britain and is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland, Durham and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of decoration is the `cup and ring' marking where expanses of small cup-like hollows are pecked into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more `rings'. Other shapes and patterns also occur, but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500BC) and provide one of our most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols. Frequently they are found on portable stones placed directly next to burials or incorporated into burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock-art have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection of the nu arved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed in activities such as quarrying. The Bronze Age cairnfield and cup and ring marked stone north west of Middleton Dean are well preserved and will retain significant archaeological deposits. The monument contains evidence relating to agricultural and funerary practices within, beneath and between the cairns as well as evidence of ritual practices through the cup and ring marked stone.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a cairnfield of Bronze Age date situated on gently undulating moorland. The cairnfield, c.250m long, contains at least 15 stone clearance cairns; the mounds vary in size from 2m to 12m in diameter and up to a maximum height of 1.5m. At least three cairns have a central depression, probably the result of unrecorded part excavation and are thought likely to be funerary in origin. Amongst the clearance cairns is an isolated boulder bearing a single cup and ring mark, now much weathered. The post and wire fence which crosses the cairnfield is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath 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.

Selected Sources

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

National Grid Reference: NT 99042 22469

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Jul-2018 at 08:37:16.

End of official listing