Ring cairn at the northern end of Scale Knoll Allotment, 750m WNW of Haythwaite

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1017425
Date first listed:
24-Oct-1997

Map

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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District:
County Durham (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Barningham
National Grid Reference:
NZ 05011 09298

Reasons for Designation

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by fieldwork and ground level survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

The ring cairn 750m WNW of Heythwaite, survives well despite stone-robbing in the past. It retains evidence of its form and location, and will contribute to our knowledge of prehistoric burial practices. It forms an important part of the prehistoric landscape of Barningham Moor, which includes numerous other cairns, carved rocks, settlements and agricultural field systems. This site will therefore contribute to studies of prehistoric landscapes and the changing patterns of land use over time.

Details

The monument includes a ring cairn, 12m in diameter. It is situated on Barningham Moor, on a rise overlooking Gill Beck, at the northern end of the modern sheep-grazing enclosure known as Scale Knoll Allotment. The ring cairn consists of a grassed over rubble bank, approximately 2m wide and 0.3m high, forming a circle which is incomplete on its south side.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
30491
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Other
Cairns on Barningham Moor, Laurie, T, (1997)

Legal

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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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