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Prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system south west of Birkby Fell, 750m north east of The Knott

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: Prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system south west of Birkby Fell, 750m north east of The Knott

List entry Number: 1019432

Location

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

County: Cumbria

District: Copeland

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Muncaster

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 24-Nov-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: 32867

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 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 south west of Birkby Fell, 750m north east 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.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system located on unenclosed moorland south west of Birkby Fell, 750m north east of The Knott. It represents Bronze Age exploitation of this landscape and includes a small number of short lengths of stone bank and over 60 oval-shaped clearance cairns measuring between 1.2m to 9.2m long by 1m to 8.2m wide and up to 0.7m high. The associated prehistoric field system consists of two fields or plots bounded by alignments of cairns. These cairn alignments are interpreted as representing the line of old field boundaries in which sporadic patches of stone clearance were piled against a fence or hedge. Both fields are relatively stone-free, flat and well-drained, and are interpreted as prehistoric fields which were deliberately cleared of stone in order to render the ground usuable for agricultural cultivation or stock enclosure. Pollen cores taken from the sediments of nearby Devoke Water have revealed the changing vegetational history of this area over the last 5000 years and show episodes of forest clearance and a development of grassland during the prehistoric period. During one of these episodes most trees were cut down and were soon replaced with extensive grassland. This clearance is associated with the Bronze Age on the basis of its similarity to a clearance episode from Seathwiate Tarn 9km to the east, which has been scientifically dated to around 1000 BC.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Quartermaine, J, Barnscar Survey Catalogue, (1988)
Quartermaine, J, Barnscar Survey Catalogue, (1988)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 32-50
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 32-50

National Grid Reference: SD 14115 95898

Map

Map
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1019432 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 22-Nov-2017 at 02:18:10.

End of official listing