Kettle Howe round cairn


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Kettle Howe round cairn
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. 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.

North Yorkshire
Ryedale (District Authority)
Farndale East
North Yorkshire
Ryedale (District Authority)
Rosedale West Side
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SE 68693 97999

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 round cairns and their earthen equivalents, round barrows, in the region have 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 on or below the original ground surface, often with secondary burials located within the body of the mound. In the Bronze Age, many cairns and barrows are thought to have acted as territorial markers in addition to their role as burial sites. Kettle Howe, placed on the spine of Blakey Ridge, is considered to be one such example. This function has continued, as shown by the inscribed boundary stone, and the barrow now marks a parish boundary. Kettle Howe is a good, well preserved example of a small round cairn. The boundary stone, a good 18th century example possibly reusing a prehistoric standing stone, adds additional interest.


The monument includes buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric burial mound which is topped by an 18th century boundary stone. It is located 250m east of the Castleton to Hutton-le-Hole road. It survives in an area extensively worked for coal in the post-medieval period, an activity which has left behind numerous spoil heaps. The round cairn is sited on the northern edge of a flat plateau which forms a high point on Blakey Ridge. It is prominently located and is intervisible with Blakey Howe and Little Blakey Howe to the north and with Pike Howe and other burial mounds to the south. It is up to 8m in diameter and 0.6m high, mainly constructed of stone. These stones vary considerably in size, most being up to 0.2 across, but with several 0.4m to 0.7m across. On top of the cairn, on its northern side, there is a roughly shaped boundary stone 0.3m by 0.2m, standing 1.5m tall, with its larger faces directed north and south. The initial T is inscribed on the north face and D on the west face. This is thought to refer to Thomas Duncombe who owned the Duncombe Estate in the early 18th century. This stone may be a reused prehistoric standing stone associated with the round cairn. Although there is no ditch visible around the cairn, a margin of 3m surrounding the mound is included to allow for its likely survival. This is because excavations of other examples in the region have shown that, even where no encircling depression is discernible on the modern ground surface, ditches immediately around the outside of the mound 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.

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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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