Two Bronze Age round cairns and enclosed cremation cemetery 825m north west of Middleton Dean


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016242

Date first listed: 15-Apr-1997


Ordnance survey map of Two Bronze Age round cairns and enclosed cremation cemetery 825m north west of Middleton Dean
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Ilderton


National Grid Reference: NT 98949 22722


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.

An enclosed Bronze Age urnfield is a burial ground in which cremations, usually placed in cinerary urns, were interred within a circular enclosure up to 30m in diameter. This was formed by either a ditch, a bank, or a bank within a stone circle. There was normally an entrance or causeway allowing access into the enclosure, where a central mound or standing stone is sometimes found. Excavated examples are known to date to the Middle Bronze Age between the 16th and 11th centuries BC. Enclosed Bronze Age urnfields are largely found in the north of England, mainly in Yorkshire, Cumbria and Northumberland, although their distribution also extends into Scotland. They are a rare type of Bronze Age burial monument, with fewer than 50 identified examples and provide an important insight into beliefs and social organisation during this period. All positively identified examples are considered to be nationally important. The two Bronze Age round cairns and enclosed cremation cemetery 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 and enclosed cremation cemetery. The monument's importance is enhanced by the survival of another ritual monument of similar date to the south east which includes cairns and a cup and ring marked rock, which is the subject of a separate scheduling.


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


The monument includes two Bronze Age round cairns and an enclosed cremation cemetery situated on gently undulating moorland. The northernmost cairn measures 4.5m in diameter by 0.3m high with a central depression, possibly the result of an unrecorded part excavation. The second cairn lies 27m SSE of the first and measures 2m in diameter by 0.2m high. Both cairns are believed to be funerary in origin. A sub circular enclosure lies 4m WSW of the most northerly cairn. This enclosure measures 11m by 10.5m and is enclosed within an earth and stone bank 1.5m wide and 0.2m high, it is interpreted as an enclosed cremation cemetery.

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: 29312

Legacy System: RSM


NT 92 SE 70,

End of official listing