Cairnfield and field system on Eaglestone Flat, 100m south west of Eagle Stone


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017110

Date first listed: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield and field system on Eaglestone Flat, 100m south west of Eagle Stone
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)

Parish: Curbar

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 26192 73761


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.3400 BC) although the majority date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 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.

The cairnfield and field system on Eaglestone Flat, 100m south west of Eagle Stone, survives reasonably well and appears to retain evidence for burial as well as agriculture. It will contribute to our understanding of prehistoric settlement and land use in this area of moorland.


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


The monument includes a group of up to ten cairns forming a compact cairnfield. The cairnfield is situated close to the edge of a gritstone escarpment known as Baslow Edge and overlooking the Derwent valley on a small ridge of relatively well-drained moorland. There are also lengths of linear banks at the northern end and the whole monument is interpreted as evidence for prehistoric land clearance for settlement and agriculture.

The cairns are of various sizes, ranging from 2.5m to 6.5m in diameter. Some of the cairns appear undisturbed although one or two examples have central depressions suggesting that they may have been partly excavated. Two cairns abut each other which indicates that the surrounding land was utilised for an extended period of time. One cairn occupies a particularly prominent position and is larger than most of the others, suggesting that it may have had a funerary function.

To the north of the cairnfield is an arrangement of linear banks forming a small enclosure. This is interpreted as either a small field plot or possibly the boundary surrounding a habitation. The banks are composed of turf and stone and are likely to have been formed from clearance debris removed from the surrounding land. The cairnfield and linear features are separated by a small area of stone-cleared ground. The two areas may be part of one contemporary settlement or may represent separate episodes of occupation.

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.


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

Legacy System number: 31258

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 43-4
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 43-4

End of official listing