Round cairn, standing stone and associated enclosure 490m north west of White Cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018775

Date first listed: 03-Nov-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Round cairn, standing stone and associated enclosure 490m north west of White Cross
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Commondale


National Grid Reference: NZ 67490 10996


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.

Excavation of other round cairns in the region has shown that they demonstrate a very wide range of burial rites from simple scatters of cremated material to coffin inhumations and cremations contained in urns, typically dating to the Bronze Age. A common factor is that they were normally used for more than one burial and that the primary burial was frequently located on or below the original ground surface, often with secondary burials within the body of the mound. Most include a small number of grave goods. These are often small pottery food vessels, but stone, bone, jet and bronze items have also occasionally been found. Standing stones are prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments with dates ranging from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age for the few excavated examples. They comprise single or paired upright orthostatic slabs, ranging from under 1m to over 6m in height when still erect. They are often conspicuously sited and close to other types of monument. They can be accompanied by various features: many occur in or on the edge of round cairns, as in this case, and where excavated, associated sub-surface features have included stone cists, stone settings and various pits filled with earth containing human bone, cremations, flints and pottery. Similar deposits have been found in the excavated sockets of standing stones which range considerably in depth. Standing stones have functioned as markers for routeways, territories, graves, or meeting points, but their accompanying features show that they also had a ritual function. No national survey of standing stones has been undertaken, and estimates range from 50 to 250 extant examples, widely distributed throughout England but with concentrations in Cornwall, the North Yorkshire Moors, Cumbria, Derbyshire and the Cotswolds. Standing stones are important as nationally rare monuments with a high longevity of use, which demonstrate the diversity of ritual practices in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Consequently all undisturbed standing stones and those that represent the main range of types and locations are considered to be of national importance. The monument is an example of one of the more complex funerary monuments constructed during the Bronze Age. The arrangement of a small`D'-shaped enclosure and a round cairn either side of a standing stone at this site is extremely unusual, and information on the exact relationships of these features will be preserved.


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


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric burial mound with an associated enclosure and small standing stone, located on the southern flanks of Brown Hill. The monument is sited on ground that rises gently to the NNE. The small standing stone is at the monument's centre with the round cairn to the north east and the enclosure to the south west. The enclosure is formed as a level area terraced into the rising ground downslope from the standing stone. The area is defined on the north eastern side by a 5m wide, 1m high scarp extending from the base of the standing stone and on the remaining sides by a low curving bank up to 1m wide and 0.1m high. The enclosed level area is roughly `D'-shaped, 16m across measured along the foot of the scarp, and 11m wide at its widest point so that the furthest distance between the bank and the standing stone is 16m. The standing stone measures 0.35m by 0.12m and stands 0.9m above the surrounding ground surface. It is orientated so that its largest faces are directed towards north and south respectively and its base is secured by a number of small packing stones. The round cairn is centred 8m to the north east of the standing stone. It is a 13m diameter mound standing up to 0.3m high with a slightly dished top. There is no ditch visible surrounding the cairn, although excavation of other cairns has shown that even where no encircling depression is discernible on the modern ground surface, ditches immediately around the outside of cairns frequently survive as infilled features, containing additional archaeological deposits.

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: 30168

Legacy System: RSM


RCHMS, Argyll, Inventory of the monuments, Mid Argyll & Cowal, prehistoric & early historic monuments, (1988)

End of official listing