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Bronze Age settlement and ceremonial remains on Gibbet Moor, 980m north east of Swiss Cottage

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: Bronze Age settlement and ceremonial remains on Gibbet Moor, 980m north east of Swiss Cottage

List entry Number: 1019000

Location

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

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Baslow and Bubnell

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 11-Feb-2000

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: 31270

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

The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors. On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England as well settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time. A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, will be identified as nationally important.

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone cleared from the surrounding land surface to improve its use for agriculture and on occasions their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. Occasionally, some of the cairns were used for funerary purposes although without excavation it is difficult to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3,400 BC) although the majority date from the Bronze Age (2,000-700 BC). Cairnfields can also retain information concerning the development of land use and agricultural practices as well as the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period.

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 which were sometimes placed in stone-lined compartments called cists. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands but their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst prehistoric communities.

Linear field systems date from the Bronze Age to the fifth century AD. They usually comprise a discrete block of fields oriented in roughly the same direction. Individual fields can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for crop production. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. Small stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of upright or recumbent stones, sometimes enclosed by a ditch or embankment. Stone circles are found throughout England although they are concentrated in western areas, with particular clusters in upland areas. Where excavated they are found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2400-1000 BC). In many instances excavation has indicated that they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied the interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function, helping mark the passage of time and seasons. At other sites, the spacing of individual circles throughout the landscape has led to the suggestion that each one provided some form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group.

A four-poster stone circle is a rectangular or sub-rectangular setting of four or five standing stones. The corner stones of the rectangle usually lie on the perimeter of a circle. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England, only 22 are examples of four-posters.

Hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers, most dating from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The round houses often consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; the remains of 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 stones. Frequently traces of their associated field systems may be found immediately around them. The longevity of use of hut circle settlements and their association with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.

The complex of Bronze Age settlement and ceremonial remains on Gibbet Moor, 980m north east of Swiss Cottage is one of the most extensive and well preserved Bronze Age settlement complexes in the Peak District. It provides an important insight into Bronze Age settlement, agricultural and ceremonial use of the Derbyshire East Moors.

History

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

Details

The monument includes an extensive complex of prehistoric settlement and ceremonial remains in an area of open moorland. Features include cairnfields, linear clearance banks, single barrows and multiple barrow cemeteries, a stone circle and a stone setting. Several probable building platforms have also been identified. This is one of the most extensive Bronze Age settlement complexes in the Peak District.

The settlement and ceremonial remains occupy open moorland, most of which slopes gently to the north. To the east, west and south are further prehistoric features which are thought to be associated with the main area of settlement but are separated from it by boggy or stony ground. Most of these are the subject of separate schedulings.

Within the complex are at least 250 cairns. These form several large cairnfields, but there are also some isolated single cairns and some small cairn groups. The cairns are of various sizes, typically between 2m and 4m in diameter, although there are many larger and smaller examples.

Associated with several of the cairnfields are stretches of linear clearance in some cases forming field enclosures, especially in the northern part of the complex. Such field banks were created from debris being thrown or placed alongside hedges or fences and indicate that the area was subject to arable cultivation. Some cairns are elongated, indicating that they also were constructed at the side of field boundaries.

Within the cairnfields some of the larger cairns do not appear to be associated with land clearance but are interpreted as funerary monuments. These are often found in stony areas and stand on bluffs that overlook the settlement complex. It is also possible that many of the other cairns contain human remains because excavation elsewhere has shown that clearance cairns were sometimes used for funerary purposes.

At the southern end of the complex stands a small embanked stone circle. It measures approximately 13m by 10m surrounded by an earthen embankment about 1.5m at its highest point. Twelve or more standing stones are now fallen or leaning with a maximum height of about 0.7m. In the south side of the circle is a narrow entrance revetted in stone. In the central part of the complex stands another stone setting of unusual character. It appears to be a diminutive version of a `four-poster' stone circle with three standing stones, forming three corners of a square: the fourth is now missing. Each side of the square is approximately 2m and the setting is oriented NNE-SSW. All of the standing stones are about 0.65m high.

Within the complex stand several small areas interpreted as the sites of prehistoric habitations. Most take the form of circular depressions or platforms, some now defined by arcs of rubble. Excavation elsewhere has shown that Bronze Age houses were usually timber built and it is likely that considerable information in the form of constructional post holes and domestic artefacts lie buried at these locations.

The dispersed nature of house sites indicate that these represent a series of small family farms distributed across the landscape. There appear to be several different forms of field layout within the area of protection which may be chronological indicators or, alternatively, may show different forms of contemporary land exploitation in response to the topography. At the northern end, field plots are small and irregular with many clearance cairns, often placed at field edges or centrally, rather than as a random spread. Further south there are indications of co-axial field layouts with larger plots. At the southern end of the complex are more dense concentrations of random cairns with small cleared areas. These may indicate a relatively short lived exploitation of the landscape in this area.

Within the complex of prehistoric features are several more recent remains relating to military training during World War II. These now comprise a series of hollows, mounds and platforms with one arrangement indicating a military command post.

The metalled surface of roads, all modern drystone walls, gates and fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 69
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 63-71
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 64-6
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 63-71
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 63-71
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 64-6
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 65-6
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 62-4
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 62-4
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 53-5
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 53-5
Other
Ainsworth, S., Gibbet Moor Archaeological Survey, 1990, unpublished survey report
Ainsworth, S., Gibbet Moor Archaeological Survey, 1990, unpublished survey report

National Grid Reference: SK 27964 70887

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Nov-2017 at 08:23:51.

End of official listing