Round cairn cemetery on Levey Bog, 880m north east of Hopehead


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NY 89875 97546

Reasons for Designation

Round cairn cemeteries date to the Bronze Age. They comprise groups of cairns sited in close proximity to one another and take the form of stone mounds constructed to cover single or multiple burials. Contemporary or later `flat' graves may lie between individual cairns. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time and they can exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form. Occasionally they are associated with earlier long cairns. They may also be associated with clearance cairns - heaps of stones cleared from the adjacent ground surface to improve its quality for agricultural activities; these were also being constructed during the Bronze Age, although some examples are of later date. It may be impossible without excavation to distinguish between some burial and clearance cairns. Round cairn cemeteries occur throughout most of upland Britain; their distribution pattern complements that of contemporary lowland earthen round barrows. Often occupying prominent locations they are a major historic element in the modern landscape. Their diversity and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite some evidence of antiquarian excavation, the round cairn cemetery on Levey Bog, 880m north of Hopehead, is well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is a good example of its type and contains evidence of both funerary and clearance cairns. This monument will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of Bronze Age ritual and funerary practice.


The monument includes the remains of a round cairn cemetery of Bronze Age date, situated on the crest of a north west facing slope overlooking the Levey Bog Sike. The cemetery is a prominent feature viewed from the west, where its linear arrangement breaks the skyline. The cemetery is visible as a compact group of at least 20 circular cairns of stone and earth construction arranged along a slight ridge. The round cairns range in size from 3m to 5m in diameter and stand to a maximum height of 0.5m. Some of the cairns have retaining kerbs of upright orthostatic stones around their periphery. The most westerly of the group of cairns has a smaller cairn attached to its south east side. Some of the cairns have hollows at the centres, interpreted as the remains of antiquarian or other recent disturbance.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
The Archaeology Practice, , Recommendations for an Archaeological Management Plan, (1998), 110-111
Gates T M, TMG 17473/75-7, (1996)


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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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