Ring cairn, 500m north west of Burbage Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017589

Date first listed: 23-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Ring cairn, 500m north west of Burbage Bridge
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Sheffield (Metropolitan Authority)

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 25677 80936


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.

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones surrounding a hollow central area. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are often found 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. As a relatively rare class of monument exihibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation. This is a good example of an undisturbed ring cairn which will retain significant archaeological deposits and information on the structure of the monument and the burials placed within it. It is part of a wider prehistoric landscape and will contribute to the study of the contemporary use of this area of the Peak District.


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


The monument includes a ring cairn situated on the western edge of a stream, approximately 500m north west of Burbage Bridge. The monument occupies gently sloping ground, shelving to the south, and overlooks the Burbage Valley in an area of unimproved moorland. To the north east is the fortified outcrop known as Carl Wark and to the south east is a natural rock formation, known as the Toad's Mouth. The ring cairn is roughly circular with external dimensions of approximately 10m by 9.5m. It comprises a bank of stones and turf standing to a maximum height of about 0.4m and varying in width between 1.5m and 2.4m. The internal dimensions of the ring cairn are 7.5m by 6m. The bank contains some noticeably larger stones (orthostats) amongst the smaller stones. On the southern side of the ring cairn is an opening into the centre of the feature comprising a gap in the bank of about 1.3m wide. The monument occupies an area of stone strewn moorland. The interior of the ring cairn, however, is a flat stone free area. About 180m to the south east of the monument is a cairnfield with linear clearance banks. Approximately 240m to the north west is a similar cairnfield with linear clearance banks, close to Winyards Nick. Both cairnfields may well be contemporary with the ring cairn. The monument has previously been interpreted as a house site, although its location in boggy ground and lack of associated features argues against such an interpretation. Alternatively, the feature could have been a cairn of stones which has subsequently been robbed for walling stone. However, this is doubtful since no stone walls exist anywhere near the site. The monument is now interpreted as a Bronze Age ring cairn possibly used for funerary and ritual purposes.

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: 29801

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 47-8
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983)

End of official listing