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Prehistoric enclosure containing three hut circles and eight clearance cairns and an adjacent hut circle and cairnfield north east of Boat How, Burnmoor

A Scheduled Monument in Eskdale, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.4217 / 54°25'18"N

Longitude: -3.2652 / 3°15'54"W

OS Eastings: 318003.188416

OS Northings: 503651.988415

OS Grid: NY180036

Mapcode National: GBR 5KM9.WQ

Mapcode Global: WH713.T4B3

Entry Name: Prehistoric enclosure containing three hut circles and eight clearance cairns and an adjacent hut circle and cairnfield north east of Boat How, Burnmoor

Scheduled Date: 18 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008536

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23697

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Eskdale

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Eskdale St Catherine

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes a prehistoric enclosure which contains three hut circles
and eight clearance cairns, together with a fourth hut circle and a small
cairnfield to the east of the enclosure. It is located on gently sloping
fellside overlooking Burnmoor Tarn to the north east of Boat How, and lies
within a large area of open moorland known as Burnmoor which contains an
abundance of prehistoric remains.
The enclosure is sub-circular and has a boundary formed by a stone bank
measuring up to 3.6m wide and 0.3m high on all sides except the south west.
There is a narrow entrance on the enclosure's north east side. The enclosure
measures approximately 110m by 90m internally and contains a cluster of three
hut circles and eight clearance cairns along its central axis. The hut circles
each have a flat internal area with a diameter of between 3m - 3.85m which is
encircled by a low wall of stones up to 0.2m high. Each hut has an entrance on
the eastern side. The clearance cairns are circular and range between 1.95m -
4m in diameter and 0.1m - 0.4m in height. To the east of the enclosure, a
short distance beyond the entrance, there is a fourth hut circle. It has a
slightly sunken internal area 3.35m in diameter which is surrounded by a low
wall of stones up to 0.2m high. There is an entrance on the hut's western
side. Elsewhere on the eastern side of the enclosure there is a small
cairnfield comprising a dispersed group of 11 cairns ranging between 1.95m -
4.3m in diameter and 0.1m - 0.35m in height.

MAP EXTRACT
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

Within the upland landscape of Cumbria there are many discrete plots of land
enclosed by stone walls or banks of stone and earth, most of which date to the
Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC), though earlier and later examples also exist. They
were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were
sometimes subdivided to accommodate stock and hut circle dwellings for farmers
and herdsmen. The size and form of enclosures may therefore vary depending
upon their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and
relationship to other monument classes provide important information on the
diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric
communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
protection. Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity
to one another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with
stone from the surrounding land surface to improve its use for agriculture
and, on occasion, their distribution 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.3400BC),
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 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
prehistoric period.
The prehistoric enclosure containing three hut circles, eight clearance
cairns, and the adjacent hut circle and cairnfield north east of Boat How
survives well. The monument contains a developed type of cairnfield; that is
one where the land has been subjected to initial land clearance then utilised
further - in this case by the construction of an enclosure containing hut
circles together with an additional hut circle outside the enclosure. A
further phase of use may be indicated by the agricultural use of the interior
of the enclosure. This contrasts markedly with the primary type of cairnfield
found elsewhere on Burnmoor and illustrates well the differing prehistoric
land management strategies. The monument lies close to other prehistoric
monuments on Burnmoor and indicates the importance of this area in prehistoric
times.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 10-11
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 11
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 11
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 10
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 9-10
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 10
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 10
Other
Raymond,F., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Cairnfields, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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