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Prehistoric settlement and associated remains including carved rocks and a stone circle 400m north west of How Tallon Cairn, Barningham Moor

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: Prehistoric settlement and associated remains including carved rocks and a stone circle 400m north west of How Tallon Cairn, Barningham Moor

List entry Number: 1017441

Location

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

County:

District: County Durham

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Barningham

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 24-Nov-1977

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Oct-1997

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 30479

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

Unenclosed hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. The hut circles take a variety of forms. Some are stone based and are visible as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. Others were timber constructions and only the shallow groove in which the timber uprights used in the wall construction stood can now be identified; this may survive as a slight earthwork feature or may be visible on aerial photographs. Some can only be identified by the artificial earthwork platforms created as level stances for the houses. The number of houses in a settlement varies between one and twelve. In areas where they were constructed on hillslopes the platforms on which the houses stood are commonly arrayed in tiers along the contour of the slope. Several settlements have been shown to be associated with organised field plots, the fields being defined by low stony banks or indicated by groups of clearance cairns. Many unenclosed settlements have been shown to date to the Bronze Age but it is also clear that they were still being constructed and used in the Early Iron Age. They provide an important contrast to the various types of enclosed and defended settlements which were also being constructed and used around the same time. Their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.

Funerary cairns date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands. 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. 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'. Pecked lines or grooves can also exist in isolation from cup and ring decoration. 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. Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of upright or recumbent stones. Stone circles are found throughout England although they are concentrated in western areas, with particular clusters in upland areas such as Bodmin and Dartmoor in the south west and the Lake District and the rest of Cumbria in the north west. This distribution may be more a reflection of present survival rather than an original pattern. Where excavated they have been found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2400 - 1000 BC). We do not fully understand the uses for which these monuments were originally constructed but it is clear that they had considerable ritual importance for the societies that used them. In many instances excavation has indicated they they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function, helping mark the passage of time and seasons, this being indicated by the careful alignment of stones to mark important solar or lunar events such as sunrise or sunset at midsummer or midwinter. At other sites the spacing of individual circles throughout the landscape has led to a suggestion that each one provided some form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation. A burnt mound is an accumulation of burnt (fire-crazed) stones, ash and charcoal, usually sited next to a river or lake. On excavation, some form of trough or basin capable of holding water is normally found in close association with the mound. The size of the mound can vary considerably; small examples may be under 0.5m high and less than 10m in diameter, larger examples may exceed 3m in height and be 35m in diameter. The shape of the mound ranges from circular to crescentic. The associated trough or basin may be found within the body of the mound or, more usually, immediatly adjacent to it. At sites which are crescentic in shape the trough is normally found within the `arms' of the crescent and the mound has the appearance of having developed around it. The main phase of use of burnt mounds spans the Early, Middle and Late Bronze Age, a period of around 1000 years. The function of the mounds has been a matter of some debate, but it appears that cooking, using heated stones to boil water in a trough or tank, is the most likely use. Some excavated sites have revealed several phases of construction, indicating that individual sites were used more than once. Burnt mounds are found widely scattered throughout the British Isles, with around 100 examples identified in England. As a rare monument type which provides an insight into life in the Bronze Age, all well preserved examples will normally be identified as nationally important. This complex of remains on Barningham Moor survives well and will return significant information on prehistoric settlement and rural activity on the Moor. Additionally they form part of a wider prehistoric landscape in this area which includes further carved rocks and settlement evidence.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a variety of prehistoric sites on Barningham Moor distributed across Eel Hill and Cross Gill along a natural terrace. The prehistoric sites include a stone circle, three cairns, 44 carved rocks, a complex unenclosed settlement, a burnt mound, an enclosure and a boulder wall. The stone circle is located at the head of Osmaril Gill, 290m south of Eel Hill. It consists of an approximate circle, 13m in diameter, of seven sandstone boulders with an additional group of three boulders 10m to the south east. This additional group of boulders may be part of the same circle or they may form outliers to the main circle. The three cairns vary in size from 4m to 13m in diameter, and from 0.3m to 0.9m in height. The largest cairn has a cup and groove marked rock built into its side. The 44 carved rocks are sandstone boulders of various dimensions. The majority are located along the 410m contour east of Eel Hill and Osmaril Gill, but others are scattered throughout the area. All but two are earthfast, these two being situated in the scree and boulders on the steep east side of Osmaril Gill. The carvings vary in complexity from single cups to complicated designs with cups, rings and grooves. The unenclosed settlement is on a north facing terrace at the foot of a steep slope, east of Osmaril Gill. It consists of several enclosures and hut circles, arranged along the terrace. There are also field boundary banks, and an outlying enclosure with hut circles to the north west of the main settlement area. The burnt mound is north of the settlement, on the slope below the terrace. It consists of a pile of heat-reddened and cracked small stones. There is an oval hollow in the centre of the mound. The enclosure, located north of Eel Hill, is subrectangular, 25m by 15m. The banks are 2m wide and 0.2m high, and are composed of sandstone rubble with large boulders and occasional tall stones known as orthostats. The enclosure is likely to have been used in prehistoric times to contain stock. It may have formed part of a larger settlement which is no longer visible. The boulder wall is 20m long and about 3m wide. It survives to a maximum height of 0.5m, and effectively closes off the upper part of Osmaril Gill. A flint scatter is visible in an erosion patch on a small promentory on the east side of Osmaril Gill, where the Gill opens out onto the lower plain.

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
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 31
Laurie, T, 'Archaeological Newsbulletin Series 2' in Archaeological Newsbulletin CBA Regional Group Three, (1977), 13
Laurie, T, 'Archaeological Newsbulletin Series 2' in Archaeological Newsbulletin CBA Regional Group Three, (1977), 11
Other
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
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Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
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Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
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Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Beckensall, (1997)
Laurie, T, (1997)

National Grid Reference: NZ 05568 07709

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Nov-2017 at 10:34:16.

End of official listing