Cairnfield 1000m south east of Howdale Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- North Yorkshire
- Scarborough (District Authority)
- LCPs of Fylingdales and Hawsker-cum-Stainsacre
- National Park:
- NORTH YORK MOORS
- National Grid Reference:
- NZ 95699 00935
Reasons for Designation
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 landsurface to improve its use for agriculture,
and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without
excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC),
although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance
which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze
Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size,
content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the
development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the
The cairnfield 1000m south east of Howdale Farm has survived well. Significant information about the original form of the cairns, any burials placed within them and its relationship with other monuments will be preserved. Evidence of earlier land use will also survive beneath the cairns.
The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a cairnfield located
on high ground in the middle of Howdale Moor. This is the easternmost extent
of the sandstone, heather covered moor characteristic of the North York Moors.
Today the moor is little used but archaeological evidence indicates that this
has not always been the case. The prehistoric period in particular saw
extensive agricultural use of the area. It was also then being used for
burials and activities associated with the carving of patterns on exposed
rock. Remains of these activities survive today.
The cairnfield occupies level ground to the south of a gradual downward
slope. The cairnfield includes at least 11 cairns and extends over an area
approximately 150m by 200m. The cairns are composed of stony mounds measuring
up to 8m in diameter and up to 0.5m in height. These are the result of stone
clearance in the Bronze Age to improve the land for farming. Evidence from
other similar monuments in the north of England shows that such cairns may
also have be used for burials or cremations. The settlement from which this
area of land was farmed has yet to be identified, although it is anticipated
to have been close by.
On the eastern edge of the monument there is a small standing stone which is a
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 10 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.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, (1994), 109-122
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