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Triple cairn, cairnfield and bole sites extending south westwards from Raven Tor

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: Triple cairn, cairnfield and bole sites extending south westwards from Raven Tor

List entry Number: 1019479

Location

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

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Beeley

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 09-Mar-2001

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: 31275

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 as 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.

Round cairn cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise groups of cairns in close proximity to each other and take the form of stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries. They may be associated with Bronze Age clearance cairns - heaps of stones cleared from the adjacent ground surface to improve its quality for agriculture. It may be impossible without excavation to distinguish between some burial and clearance cairns. Round cairn cemeteries are found throughout most of upland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst prehistoric communities.

Medieval lead smelters include a range of features known from field or documentary evidence. The most common type is the bole or bolehill, a windblown smelting fire located on an exposed hilltop or crest. This consisted of a rectangular or circular stone structure, open on one side, within which a large fire was constructed using large blocks of wood at the base and smaller wood interleaved with ore above. Boles used the wind to provide draught and normally faced south west. The molten lead was run out by channels on the upwind side into a casting pit or area. The slag produced by the bole retained considerable quantities of lead. Some of this could be extracted by crushing and washing the slag and the remainder could be recovered by resmelting in a smaller enclosed hearth (the slag hearth or `blackwork oven') using charcoal fuel and an artificial air blast. The resulting black glassy slag is distinct from the grey or yellow slag produced by the bole itself.

The bole and associated features were in use from at least the 12th to the late 16th centuries as the main lead smelting technology, differing markedly from the smelting technology of other metals. Boles are found on exposed sites in and around the Pennine lead mining fields. The majority are known from place-name evidence only and sites containing slag, contaminated ground or earthwork features are very rare. All sites with informative slag, intact tips or visible structural or earthwork features are considered to merit protection.

The remains of the cairn cemetery and lead bole sites extending south westwards from Raven Tor survive well and provide an insight into Bronze Age cermonial practices on the East Moors of the Peak District and into the later reuse of the moorlands for early industrial processes.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of a prehistoric triple funerary cairn complex with adjacent cairnfield and several medieval lead smelting sites, often referred to as boles, distributed along the edge of an escarpment.

This area of complex archaeology occupies the edge of a gritstone escarpment facing to the west. Standing close to the gritstone edge is an arrangement of three abutting funerary cairns with stone kerbs, arranged as a linear feature and oriented roughly east-west. The cairns have been previously excavated and reconstructed leaving exposed stone on the surface. The three cairns appear to have been originally constructed one after the other with the easternmost structure being the earliest. They measure approximately 7m by 7.5m, 6m by 8m and 7.5m by 8m respectively, east to west. Each cairn has a carefully constructed arrangement of upright kerb stones. The central and western cairns both contain the remains of stone cists which originally enclosed burials. The excavation of the cairns revealed cremated bone and fragments of collared and cordoned urns dating the features to the second millennium BC.

Surrounding the triple cairn are at least ten or more smaller cairns, some of which appear undisturbed. They cluster to the south of the triple cairn with further examples to the north east and south west. The cairns are also located close to the escarpment edge and are likely to be funerary in function given their prominent location and proximity to the triple cairn. Alternatively they could be the remains of prehistoric agricultural clearance or have held a dual function. The cairns are of various sizes but typically between 2m and 5m in diameter. Two of the cairns are sub-rectangular in plan.

The escarpment edge has also been used at a later date for lead smelting and the remains of several boles (lead smelting sites) survive along the edge to the north east of the triple cairn. They are distributed over approximately 300m of the edge at about 8m intervals. They comprise a series of sub-circular stone structures, situated to take advantage of the prevailing wind from the west and south west. One of the boles has been constructed in the western edge of the triple cairn complex, comprising a small hearth still containing pieces of burnt limestone and lead ore. The boles date from the medieval period and some may be as early as 11th or 12th century.

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), 167-8
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 167-8
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 167-8
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 167-8
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 167-8
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 167-8
Radley, J, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in A triple cairn and a rectangular cairn on Beeley Moor, (1969), 3-17
Radley, J, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in A triple cairn and a rectangular cairn on Beeley Moor, (1969), 3-17
Other
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
Step 4 report on lead smelting sites, English Heritage, Beeley Moor Boles, Beeley, Step4 report DERBS.,

National Grid Reference: SK 28029 66737

Map

Map
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End of official listing