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Cairnfield including a prehistoric enclosure, 5 stone circles, 10 funerary cairns, 6 stone banks, 2 stone walls, a lynchet and a trackway on Burnmoor

A Scheduled Monument in Eskdale, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.4118 / 54°24'42"N

Longitude: -3.2741 / 3°16'26"W

OS Eastings: 317408.95633

OS Northings: 502569.379867

OS Grid: NY174025

Mapcode National: GBR 5KKF.Z7

Mapcode Global: WH713.PC3N

Entry Name: Cairnfield including a prehistoric enclosure, 5 stone circles, 10 funerary cairns, 6 stone banks, 2 stone walls, a lynchet and a trackway on Burnmoor

Scheduled Date: 3 March 1922

Last Amended: 15 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008539

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23700

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 large cairnfield located around the Brat's Moss area
of Burnmoor at the western side of a large area of open moorland which
contains an abundance of prehistoric remains. Within the cairnfield are a
considerable number of other monuments including a prehistoric enclosure, five
stone circles each containing funerary cairns, six stone banks, two stone
walls, a lynchet, and a short length of trackway.
The cairnfield contains approximately 403 cairns. Some are round in shape and
range in diameter between 1.35m - 6.9m in diameter and 0.1m - 0.65m high, some
are oval in shape and range between 2.9m long by 1.6m wide and 10.25m long by
3.9m wide and 0.1m - 0.9m high. Of the five stone circles Brat's Hill is the
largest with approximately 42 stones forming an irregular circle with an
average diameter of 30.4m. There are five funerary cairns within the circle
together with two further stones. There is an outlying stone a short distance
to the north west of the circle. To the north west of Brat's Hill stone circle
lie White Moss North East and White Moss South West stone circles; the former
measures 16.2m in diameter and has 11 stones forming the circle and a funerary
cairn at the centre, the latter measures 16.6m in diameter and has 14 stones
forming the circle and a funerary cairn at the centre. To the south and east
of the White Moss stone circles there is a long dog-legged length of stone
bank beyond which is a sub-rectangular prehistoric enclosure measuring a
maximum of approximately 50m by 30m internally. Immediately to the east of
this enclosure is a short stone wall adjacent to which is a short length of
trackway defined by two non-parallel banks and aligned north west - south
east. Within the northern part of the cairnfield are two more stone circles,
Low Longrigg North East and Low Longrigg South West. The former measures 21.7m
by 20.4m, has 15 stones forming an irregular circle, and contains two funerary
cairns. The latter measures 15.2m in diameter, has nine stones forming the
circle, and contains a funerary cairn at the centre. To the south west of the
Low Longrigg stone circles, beyond a modern Y-shaped sheep bield, are two
lengths of stone bank aligned approximately south west - north east which
separate two sub-groups of cairns within the main cairnfield. Similarly to the
east of the Low Longrigg stone circles there is a low stone wall aligned north
west - south east which also separates sub-groups of cairns. At the north
eastern side of the cairnfield complex there are three roughly parallel stone
banks to the south of a small sub-group of cairns. These banks are aligned
with the contours and may have functioned as lynchets. There is another
lynchet located to the south of Brat's Hill stone circle.

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

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one
another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone
cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture,
and on occasion their distribution pattern 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.3400 BC),
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 the 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.

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). 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. Their size and form
may therefore vary depending upon their function. Their variation in form,
longevity and relation to other monument classes provide important information
on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst
prehistoric communities. As such a substantial proportion of surviving
examples are considered worthy of protection.
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. Single upright stones
may be found within the circle or outside it and avenues of stones radiating
out from the circle occur at some sites. Where excavated they have been found
to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2000-1240 BC). It
is clear that they were carefully designed and laid out, frequently exhibiting
very regularly spaced stones, the heights of which also appear to have been of
some importance. We do not fully understand the uses for which these monuments
were constructed but it is clear that they had considerable ritual importance
for the societies that used them. In many instances excavation has indicated
that they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied the
interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function,
helping mark the passage of time and seasons, this being indicated by the
careful alignment of stones to mark important solar or lunar events. At other
sites the spacing of individual circles throughout the landscape has led to
the suggestion that each one provided some form of tribal gathering point for
a specific social group. As a rare monument type which provides an important
insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of
preservation.
The complex of prehistoric remains around the Brat's Moss area survives well.
It contains a developed cairnfield; that is one where the land has been
subjected to initial clearance then utilised further - in this case by the
construction of the most complex and diverse group of prehistoric monument
classes to be found on Burnmoor. These include a prehistoric enclosure, five
stone circles each containing funerary cairns, a number of stone banks and
stone walls separating sub-groups of cairns within the main cairnfield, a
short length of trackway, and a lynchet. Together these individual monuments
represent evidence of long term management and exploitation of the Bronze Age
landscape on Burnmoor and indicate 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), 18
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 18
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 20
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 23
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 31
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 32
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 32
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 33
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 37
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 14-46
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 30
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 20
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 21
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 30
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 30
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 33
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 33
Thom, A, Megalithic Sites in Britain, (1967), 52-3
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 60-1
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 56-7
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 55-6
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 56-61
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 59, 61
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 55-6
Other
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Large Irregular Stone Circles, (1990)
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Small Stone Circles, (1990)
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Small Stone Circles, (1990)
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Bowl Barrows, (1989)
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Bowl Barrows, (1989)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions- Bowl Barrows, (1989)
Raymond,F., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Cairnfields, (1987)
Site no. 292-6; SMR No 3039, Clare, T, Stone Circles on Burnmoor, near Boot, (1973)
Site No. 292-6; SMR No 3039, Clare, T, The Stone Circles on Burnmoor, Near Boot, (1973)
Site No. 292-6; SMR No 3039, Clare, T, The Stone Circles on Burnmoor, Near Boot, (1973)

Source: Historic England

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