Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Little Meg round cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Glassonby, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.7305 / 54°43'49"N

Longitude: -2.6585 / 2°39'30"W

OS Eastings: 357687.954417

OS Northings: 537476.997869

OS Grid: NY576374

Mapcode National: GBR 9FWR.71

Mapcode Global: WH924.4C9C

Entry Name: Little Meg round cairn

Scheduled Date: 27 October 1967

Last Amended: 9 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007627

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23659

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Glassonby

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Addingham St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is Little Meg round cairn. It is located on flat land and
includes a turf-covered mound of stones and earth up to 0.3m high with maximum
dimensions of 9.5m by 8m. Around the edge of the mound are ten closely spaced
earthfast granite boulders, some upstanding and some recumbent, varying in
height between 0.3m - 1.3m. One of these stones displays prehistoric rock
carving depicting a spiral carefully linked into multiple concentric circles,
the design covering the width of the rock. Limited antiquarian investigation
of the cairn located eight large stones which apparently formed a circle. In
the centre of the mound was an oval cist within which was an urn containing
cremated bone. Two of the stones forming the cist displayed rock carving in
the form of cup and ring marks.
A post and wire fence on the monument's southern side is excluded from the
scheduling but the ground beneath the fence is included.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or
multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined
compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch.
Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the
modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are
the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation
amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of
their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of protection.

Despite limited antiquarian investigation, Little Meg round cairn survives
reasonably well. This investigation located human remains and pottery, and
further evidence of interments and grave goods will exist within the mound and
upon the old landsurface beneath. Additionally the monument is a rare example
in Cumbria of a site displaying in-situ prehistoric rock art.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Cumbrian Prehistoric Rock Art: Symbols, Monument & Landscapes, (1992), 14-15
'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Proceedings, , Vol. XIII, (1913), 407
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Bowl Barrows (1988), (1988)
SMR No. 979, Cumbria SMR, Little Meg Cairn Circle, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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