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Sheepwash Bank and Dennis Knoll prehistoric settlement and field system

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: Sheepwash Bank and Dennis Knoll prehistoric settlement and field system

List entry Number: 1020171

Location

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

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Outseats

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 23-Dec-1997

Date of most recent amendment: 09-May-2001

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29794

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.

Sheepwash Bank and Dennis Knoll prehistoric settlement and field system represent one of the most important single-period prehistoric sites on the Millstone Grit East Moors of the Peak District of Derbyshire. The remains are in a particularly good state of preservation. Although there are many Bronze Age remains in this area, the site is of special importance due to the diversity of features relating to settlement and agriculture during this prehistoric period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes numerous features indicating Bronze Age settlement and agricultural activity. These features include a series of clearance cairns, linear clearance banks demarcating a system of small fields, random peripheral clearance and ring bank earthworks. In addition, there are more recent landscape features, including several hollow ways, minor quarrying and stone-getting, and a makeshift dew pond. The remains occupy two almost level gritstone spurs which project south from the level ground below Stanage Edge at the south east end of Bamford Moor. The plateau area of Sheepwash Bank contains over 20 sub-circular clearance cairns. They are distributed fairly evenly over the area which is notably stone free. The cairns are of various sizes but two are much larger than the others and occupy prominent positions overlooking land to the south. The southern large cairn has been robbed of some stone. Both of these large cairns may have been used as burial mounds. Stone clearance is also evident in the form of linear clearance banks which occupy much of the plateau but are especially concentrated in the northern half of the area. The surviving clearance banks comprise small and medium stones and are largely turf covered. They are well-preserved and form a roughly rectilinear pattern of small fields. There are two circular ring bank earthworks which may be hut sites occupying relatively sheltered sites. One occupies a position on the main ridge of Sheepwash Bank and is approximately 11m in diameter. It lies within a field enclosure which is likely to be contemporary with it. The other possible hut site occupies ground between the field systems on Sheepwash Bank and Dennis Knoll. It is now faint, but a regular, circular ring bank with a possible entrance on its southern side is 13m in diameter. It is located on a platform which may be artificial. More recent features include several braids of a hollow way running across the northern part of the spur, from west to east. One branch of the hollow way passes close to one of the hut sites and ascends the spur of Dennis Knoll, passing through the field system there. The hollow way is of uncertain date, but may have made use of a prehistoric trackway. Although the area has seen little human activity since the Bronze Age, there are several instances of minor quarrying and stone getting. The quarries are located around the edge of the plateau, to the north, east and south. Each quarry shows evidence for the sort of small scale activity normally associated with wall building. The quarries probably date to the late 18th or early 19th century when the post-medieval enclosure walls in the area were constructed. The prehistoric remains on Dennis Knoll include a length of linear clearance bank which stretches from the northern end of the field system on Sheepwash Bank and terminates close to the clearance features on Dennis Knoll. This bank indicates that the two field systems were linked and probably contemporary. It runs, in part, through a plantation of trees at the northern end of the Knoll. Several small clearance cairns also survive in this plantation. On the southern end of Dennis Knoll are further clearance cairns of varying size, bringing the total number of cairns on the whole of the Knoll to over 20. One is larger than the others, about 10m in diameter and occupies a prominent position. Like its counterparts on Sheepwash Bank this cairn may well contain burial remains. There are also traces of linear clearance on the Knoll, but these remains are less well preserved than those on Sheepwash Bank. A hollow way extends south westwards onto the spur of Dennis Knoll from Sheepwash Bank and passes through the clearance features. At its most south westerly point this hollow way joins with another running north west to the south east. Another hollow way crosses the plantation area and then runs across the southern part of the spur where it splits into several braids. There is also evidence of minor stone quarrying for wall building around the edge of Dennis Knoll. Excluded from the scheduling are all modern field walls, fences, signposts, information boards and stiles, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 18-100
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983)
Other
RCHME, Settlement and Field System, Dennis Knoll, Outseats, Derbys., (1987)
RCHME, Settlement and Field System, Dennis Knoll, Outseats, Derbys., (1987)
RCHME, Settlement and Field System, Dennis Knoll, Outseats, Derbys., (1987)
RCHME, Settlement and Field System, Dennis Knoll, Outseats, Derbys., (1987)

National Grid Reference: SK 22967 84152

Map

Map
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End of official listing