Ring cairn on Askew Rigg, 880m south east of Hartoft Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018977

Date first listed: 22-Jun-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Ring cairn on Askew Rigg, 880m south east of Hartoft Bridge
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Lastingham


National Grid Reference: SE 74066 92136


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

Reasons for Designation

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 uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by fieldwork and ground level survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur 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. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

The ring cairn on Askew Rigg is a well preserved example of this rare form of monument, the small sample excavation by Hayes adding to our interpretation of the site. It is one of a small number of ring cairns on the North York Moors.


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


The monument includes buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric burial monument on Askew Rigg, 880m south east of Hartoft Bridge. It is marked as an enclosure by the Ordnance Survey and lies 950m south west of Hartoft Bridge, centred 24m east of the shooting track which runs down the rigg. The ring cairn is sited on a slight natural rise on the top of the gently sloping spine of the rigg, overlooking the River Seven to the east, the head of Grain Beck to the west and another more prominent rise on Askew Rigg to the south. It is not intervisible with Abraham's Hut round cairn to the north. The ring cairn is formed by an earth and stone bank 3.5m to 4m wide and typically 0.3m high, with individual stones typically no larger than 0.4m across, mostly smaller. This bank forms a ring 21m in diameter measured between the centres of the bank, with a 24m external diameter. In three places around the circuit, to the west, NNW and south east, the bank broadens inwards with 2m by 2m spurs. There is also a 2m wide gap in the east side of the ring, which has been interpreted as an entrance, and a lowering of the bank on the north and south sides caused by an abandoned footpath. The interior of the ring cairn is uneven except for an 8m by 2m, 0.1m deep hollow area extending WSW from the south side of the centre of the ring. This is identified as the excavation trench dug by R Hayes in 1962, who uncovered a deposit of oak charcoal and seeds within a pit 1.2m by 0.6m by 0.75m. The small cairn of stones at the centre of the ring cairn is considered to be a spoil heap from this excavation. Although there is no obvious ditch visible around the ring cairn, a 3m margin surrounding the ring cairn is included, as a number of other examples on the North York Moors have been found to be encircled by a ditch. These ditches can survive as infilled features, rather than as earthworks, and will then retain additional archaeological deposits aiding our understanding of the changing local environment.

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: 32656

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing