Ancient Monuments

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Benthall round cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Beadnell, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5533 / 55°33'11"N

Longitude: -1.6256 / 1°37'32"W

OS Eastings: 423715.242464

OS Northings: 628907.7112

OS Grid: NU237289

Mapcode National: GBR K427.V3

Mapcode Global: WHC0V.0P54

Entry Name: Benthall round cairn

Scheduled Date: 7 March 1974

Last Amended: 14 April 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008430

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25048

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Beadnell

Built-Up Area: Beadnell

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Beadnell St Ebba

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a round cairn of prehistoric date
situated on the edge of a cliff, to the north of Beadnell harbour. The visible
remains comprise a cist, or stone coffin, situated on the edge of an amorphous
mound of boulders, pebbles and sand. The mound, which has become spread,
covers a roughly circular area 15m in diameter and stands to a maximum height
of 0.4m. A second cist is known to lie 3.5m to the south of the first but is
now not visible above ground level. Both of these cists were discovered and
partially excavated in 1934; the first, which is still visible today, is built
of large sandstone slabs orientated WNW by ESE and measures 0.9m by 0.6m and
is 0.5m deep. It contained the bones of a prehistoric burial. The second cist
measured 0.8m by 0.6m and was 0.6m deep. The removal of a covering slab of
sandstone revealed the remains of a second prehistoric burial along with a
decorated Bronze Age pottery vessel; the pot is now in the Museum of
Antiquities in Newcastle.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 1 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.

Although the round cairn at Benthall has suffered some damage as a result of
the construction of an adjacent fishing store, and of natural erosion, the
area of the cairn can be defined and it contains further significant
archaeological deposits.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gibson, A M, Bronze Age Pottery in the North East of England, (1978)
'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 8' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 8, (1939), 26-7
Askew, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana, 4 ser 15' in Archaeologia Aeliana, 4 ser 15, (1938), 149-155
NU 22 NW 02,

Source: Historic England

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