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Swindale Beck prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, associated field system, four ring cairns, a round cairn and three hut platforms

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: Swindale Beck prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, associated field system, four ring cairns, a round cairn and three hut platforms

List entry Number: 1018829

Location

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

County: Cumbria

District: Eden

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Murton

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 29-Oct-1999

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 27839

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

Stone hut circles and hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. Most date from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone- based round-houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; the remains of the turf, thatch or heather roofs are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth or stone. Frequently traces of their associated field systems may be found immediately around them. These may be indicated by areas of clearance cairns and/or the remains of field walls and other enclosures. The longevity of use of hut circle settlements and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Irregular aggregate field systems are one of several methods of field layout known to have been employed from the Bronze Age to the Roman period (c.2000 BC-AD 400). They comprise a collection of field plots generally lacking conformity of orientation and arrangement, containing fields with sinuous outlines and varying shapes and sizes, bounded by stone or rubble walls or banks, ditches or fences. The settlements or farmsteads from which people utilised the fields are usually situated close to or within the field system. The majority of these field systems are thought to have been mainly for crop production although rotation may also have been practiced in a mixed farming economy. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. 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 upright or laid boulders. They are mainly found in upland areas of England and often occur in pairs or small groups. 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 pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of protection. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age. 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. 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. Swindale Beck prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, its associated field system, ring cairns and round cairn, survive well and represent a complex and diverse group of prehistoric monument classes. Together these represent long term management and exploitation of the landscape and indicate the importance of this area in prehistoric times and the diversity of monument classes to be found here.

History

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

Details

The monument includes Swindale Beck prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, an associated field system, four ring cairns, a round cairn and three hut platforms. It is located on sloping ground on the valley side north of Swindale Beck between Marn Gill to the west and Siss Gill to the east. The prehistoric stone hut circle settlement includes a sub-rectangular stone walled enclosure measuring approximately 55m by 50m which used Marn Gill as its western boundary. Within the enclosure, and built against its wall close to the north east corner, are the remains of a stone hut circle 5m in diameter with walls up 0.5m high. A substantial wall constructed of large boulders runs from the northern side of the settlement enclosure to the edge of a long narrow area of shake holes. This wall then follows the southern edge of the shake holes in a south easterly direction and becomes intermittent and partly covered by boggy ground before terminating at the edge of a rocky gorge above Suss Gill. This wall, together with the settlement enclosure, Suss Gill to the east and Swindale Beck to the south, defines an area considered to be a large prehistoric field associated with the settlement. Within this field, and close to the south east corner of the settlement enclosure, are a group of funerary monuments and hut platforms. The funerary monuments include four ring cairns, the largest of which measures 6m by 4m, and a small round cairn. Close by are two small circular terraces about 5m in diameter which have been dug into the hillslope and are considered to be hut platforms. A third hut platform lies adjacent to the east side of the enclosure wall and consists of a circular terrace 7.5m in diameter dug into the hillslope; the wall of a hut circle survives up to 0.2m high on the northern side of the terrace.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Other
AP No. CCC 2800,21, Cumbria County Council, Warcop, Swindale Crag,
SMR no. 6582, Cumbria County Council, Warcop, Swindale Beck, (1989)
SMR no. 6582, Cumbria County Council, Warcop, Swindale Beck, (1989)
SMR no. 6582, Cumbria County Council, Warcop, Swindale Beck, (1989)

National Grid Reference: NY 76769 20615

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Dec-2017 at 06:42:43.

End of official listing