A cairn and a carved rock west of Cowclose Gill, in Scale Knoll Allotment, 460m west of Haythwaite, Barningham Moor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017434

Date first listed: 24-Oct-1997


Ordnance survey map of A cairn and a carved rock west of Cowclose Gill, in Scale Knoll Allotment, 460m west of Haythwaite, Barningham Moor
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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: Barningham

National Grid Reference: NZ 05271 09157


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.

Prehistoric rock carving is found on natural boulders and rock outcrops in many areas of upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland, Durham, and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of decoration is the `cup' marking, where small cup-like hollows are worked into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more `rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the rings may also exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Other shapes and patterns also occur but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups, or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide one of our most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols. All positively identified prehistoric rock carvings sites will normally be identified as nationally important. The carved rock and cairn 460m west of Haythaite form part of a wider group of carved rocks and other prehistoric remains on Barningham Moor. The carving on the rock survives well. Although the cairn has been slightly disturbed by stone-robbing, it retains evidence of its form and location. Information on the relationship between the carved rock and the burial cairn will be preserved.


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


The monument includes a cairn 7m in diameter, and a carved rock which is embedded in the cairn. It is situated on Barningham Moor, in the modern sheep-grazing enclosure known as Scale Knoll Allotment. The monument is north of the road from Barningham to East Hope, on a small knoll west of Cowclose Gill. The cairn is composed of sandstone rocks, and survives to a height of 0.7m. It has been slightly disturbed by stone-robbing in the past, which has given it an irregular shape. The carved rock is visible embedded in the southwest side of the cairn, and is partly covered by vegetation. It is not possible to establish whether the rock is part of the cairn material or predates the cairn. The visible part of the rock measures 0.8m by 0.35m by 0.1m. The carving consists of two large cups joined by a groove, and one small cup.

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: 30472

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing