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Cairnfield 600m west of Highlow Hall

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: Cairnfield 600m west of Highlow Hall

List entry Number: 1016997

Location

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

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Highlow

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 29-Oct-1999

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: 31251

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

The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors. On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England as well settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time. A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, will be identified as nationally important.

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 land surface to improve its use for agriculture and on occasions their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. Occasionally, some of the cairns were used for funerary purposes although without excavation it is difficult to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3,400 BC), although the majority date from the Bronze Age (2,000-700 BC). Cairnfields can also retain information concerning the development of land use and agricultural practices, as well as the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period. 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 have been placed within stone-lined compartments called cists. 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 equivalents 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 prehistoric communities. The cairnfield 600m west of Highlow Hall survives well and will retain significant archaeology in its features. As such, it is important to our understanding of prehistoric agriculture and settlement on the gritstone moors of the Peak District.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a large group of clearance cairns and three short linear field banks, together with the remains of two larger funerary cairns. The complex is interpreted as evidence for extensive prehistoric settlement and agriculture. The cairnfield occupies a well drained position in open moorland and forms part of a larger area of prehistoric settlement and agriculture on the same moorlands. It is separated from other comparable remains (which are the subject of separate schedulings) by an area of rough, uncleared ground. There are between 40 and 70 prehistoric cairns, ranging from 1.5m to about 6m in diameter. Some of the cairns are ovoid in shape, indicating that they may once have been included in linear field divisions. Within the cairnfield are the remains of three or more linear field banks consisting of fragmentary and irregular lines of stones and turf, which are thought to have resulted from debris, cleared from cultivation plots, being thrown against hedges or fences in prehistoric times. These field banks are taken as evidence for arable cultivation on the moorland (within the complex of features are traces of possible prehistoric lynchets, formed during the ploughing of small cultivation plots). Within the cairnfield is a large cairn or barrow measuring approximately 16m in diameter. It has been robbed at its centre leaving an arc of stones and turf. There are no recorded finds from this barrow and it is possible that buried material remains intact below ground. Standing at the north western end of the cairnfield is another large round cairn which appears to comprise two stony mounds, one abutting the other. The centre and western end of the structure have been removed, but much of the cairn material still remains intact. The cairn overlooks the cairnfield and surrounding landscape and at least part of the structure may have been constructed during the earlier phases of settlement in the area. Their relationship to each other, together with evidence from a recent small excavation of one of the clearance cairns, indicates that prehistoric settlement in this area existed for some considerable time. All drystone walls and fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in The Prehistoric Cairnfield at Highlow Bank ..., , Vol. Vol. CXI, (1991), 5-30
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 67-8
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 67-8
Other
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
Barnatt, J. W., Highlow Hall and Eyam Moor ... Archaeological Survey 1994-95, 1995, unpublished survey report
Barnatt, J. W., Highlow Hall and Eyam Moor ... Archaeological Survey 1994-95, 1995, unpublished survey report
Barnatt, J. W., Highlow Hall and Eyam Moor ... Archaeological Survey 1995-95, 1995, unpublished survey report
Barnatt, J. W., Highlow Hall and Eyam Moor ... Archaeological Survey 1995-95, 1995, unpublished survey report

National Grid Reference: SK 21312 80123

Map

Map
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End of official listing