Cairnfield and embanked stone circle 550m east of Barbrook Reservoir

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020301

Date first listed: 09-May-2001

Map

Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield and embanked stone circle 550m east of Barbrook Reservoir
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Location

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

County: Derbyshire

District: North East Derbyshire (District Authority)

Parish: Holmesfield

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 28432 77268

Summary

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.

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone gathered from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture. However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without excavation it is impossible to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period although the majority of examples date from the 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. They also provide information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period.

Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of upright or recumbent stones. The circle of stones may be surrounded by earthwork features such as enclosing banks and ditches. Burial cairns may also be found close to and, on occasion, within stone circles. Stone circles are found throughout England although they are concentrated in western areas. This distribution may be a reflection of present survival rather than an original pattern. Where excavated, they have been found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2400-1000 BC). We do not fully understand the uses for which these monuments were originally constructed but it is clear that they had considerable importance for the societies that used them. In some instances, excavation has shown that they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied the interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have held a calendrical function, carefully aligned to mark the passage of time and the seasons. Other circles suggest through their distribution that they provided some form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ceremonial activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation.

The cairnfield and embanked stone circle 550m east of Barbrook Reservoir survive well and are important to our understanding of prehistoric ceremonial activities and the contemporary use of the surrounding landscape for agricultural purposes.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a prehistoric cairnfield together with an embanked stone circle providing evidence for Bronze Age settlement and ceremonial activity on these moors.

The monument occupies a ridge of ground in open moorland. It comprises a compact cairnfield on the periphery of which stands a stone circle. The cairnfield consists of at least ten cairns which are covered with peat and turf. They range between 2m and 7.5m in diameter with the largest example standing to the south west of the stone circle in a relatively isolated position: it has a slight disturbance to its centre. On the western edge of the cairnfield stands an embanked stone circle. Its internal diameter is 26m by 23.5m with the width of the enclosing embankment being 2m. On the inside edge of the embankment stand 21 relatively small standing stones, between 0.4m and 0.8m high, arranged in a circle. Some of these are leaning or have fallen but only approximately four stones appear to be missing. A large stone now lies immediately inside the circle. It appears to be a fallen standing stone that once stood 1.15m high on the western side of the monument. There are three entrances through the embankment, but not all may be original.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 31292

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 54-5
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 54-5
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 41-3
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 41-3

End of official listing