Shiel Knowe round cairn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016395

Date first listed: 24-May-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Shiel Knowe round cairn
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Carlisle (District Authority)

Parish: Bewcastle

National Grid Reference: NY 56270 79700


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 excavation, Shiel Knowe round cairn survives reasonably well. This excavation located human remains and pottery, and further evidence of interments and grave goods will exist within the cairn and upon the old landsurface beneath. The cairn lies close to other prehistoric monuments around Bewcastle, thus indicating the importance of this area in prehistoric times and the diversity of monument classes to be found here.


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


The monument includes a round cairn located on the summit of a crescent-shaped moranic ridge approximately 230m north east of the confluence of White Lyne and The Gill. It includes a circular mound of stones, gravel and sand measuring 10m in diameter and up to 0.5m high. Limited excavation by Hodgson in 1939 found a stone lined cist containing a fragment of human bone, evidence of cremation, and two nearly perfect decorated Bronze Age food vessels. A smaller stone lined secondary cist situated to the south of the primary burial contained an inverted food vessel. Close to this secondary cist a cremation pit consisting of an oval hollow containing charcoal and human bone was found.

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: 27796

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hodgson, K S, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser' in Some Excavations In The Bewcastle District, , Vol. XL, (1940), 154-62
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)

End of official listing