Prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system 350m west of The Knott

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1019431
Date first listed:
24-Nov-2000

Map

Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system 350m west of The Knott
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County:
Cumbria
District:
Copeland (District Authority)
Parish:
Muncaster
National Park:
LAKE DISTRICT
National Grid Reference:
SD 13933 95164

Reasons for Designation

The Cumbrian uplands comprise large areas of remote mountainous terrain, much of which is largely open fellside. As a result of archaeological surveys between 1980 and 1990 within the Lake District National Park, these fells have become one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the open fells there is sufficient well preserved and understood evidence over extensive areas for human exploitation of these uplands from the Neolithic to the post- medieval period. On the enclosed land and within forestry the archaeological remains are fragmentary, but they survive sufficiently well to show that human activity extended beyond the confines of the open fells. Bronze Age activity accounts for the most extensive use of the area, and evidence for it includes some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairn fields in England, as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other ceremonial remains. Taken together, their remains can provide a detailed insight into life in the later prehistoric period. Of additional importance is the well-preserved and often visible relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods, since this provides an understanding of changes in land use through time. Because of their rarity in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, most prehistoric monuments on the Lake District fells will be identified as nationally important.

The prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system on Stainton Fell 350m west of The Knott survives well and forms part of a well-preserved prehistoric landscape extending along the fellsides of south west Cumbria. In conjunction with a wide range of other prehistoric remains in the vicinity the monument provides evidence of long term management and exploitation of this area in prehistoric times.

Details

The monument includes a prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system located on a gently sloping area of fellside 350m west of the summit of The Knott. It provides evidence for the prehistoric exploitation of this landscape and includes 39 oval-shaped clearance cairns measuring between 2.8m to 10.6m long by 2.1m to 6.3m wide and up to 0.7m high. The cairns are grouped into four small clusters, three of which are similar in being relatively large, prominent and well-defined, while the fourth group of cairns differs by being small, low-lying and relatively ill-defined. Within the cairnfield there is a small field or plot with boundaries defined by cairn alignments. The land within this field is predominantly stone-free, flat and well-drained and it is interpreted as a prehistoric field which was deliberately cleared of stone in order to render the ground usuable for agricultural cultivation or stock enclosure. Elsewhere some of the cairns at the northern and towards the southern end of the cairnfield form alignments oriented downslope which are interpreted as representing the lines of old field boundaries in which sporadic patches of stone clearance were piled against a hedge or fence.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
32865
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1988)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1988)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 51-8

Legal

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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