Cairn on a prominent knoll and cairnfield to its south east on Ravock, Bowes Moor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016608

Date first listed: 16-Apr-1999


Ordnance survey map of Cairn on a prominent knoll and cairnfield to its south east on Ravock, Bowes Moor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: County Durham (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bowes

National Grid Reference: NY 96201 14057

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.

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 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. The cairn and cairnfield on Ravock, Bowes Moor survive well and will retain significant information on prehistoric land use on the moor. They are also part of a wider prehistoric landscape which includes further cairns and field systems.


The monument includes a cairn on a prominent knoll, and a cairnfield on more level ground to its south east. It is situated near the south east edge of the upland plateau of Ravock on Bowes Moor. The cairn on the summit of the knoll is 6m in diameter and 0.5m high. It occupies a very prominent position, overlooking not only the cairnfield to its south east, but also a larger cairnfield to its south west which is the subject of a separate scheduling. The cairnfield consists of at least six cairns between 2m and 5m in diameter and up to 0.5m high. Two of these cairns have rubble walled enclosures associated with them. There also several rubble banks lying at the edge of an area largely cleared of stone. The largest of the rubble banks is on the south side of this cleared area and is 4m wide and 0.6m high. The combination of cairns and linear banks indicates that the remains were previously those of a prehistoric field system.

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: 31818

Legacy System: RSM


Ravock, Cleveland County Archaeology Section, A66 Archaeology Project, (1990)

End of official listing