Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield on Whitefield Edge, 900m south-west of Debdon Whitefield

A Scheduled Monument in Cartington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3242 / 55°19'27"N

Longitude: -1.8695 / 1°52'10"W

OS Eastings: 408378.63324

OS Northings: 603354.203671

OS Grid: NU083033

Mapcode National: GBR H6DW.17

Mapcode Global: WHC1W.8F0R

Entry Name: Cairnfield on Whitefield Edge, 900m south-west of Debdon Whitefield

Scheduled Date: 13 January 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008879

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20915

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Cartington

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a group of at least seventy field clearance cairns and
several funerary cairns situated on the spur of a hill at Whitefield Edge.
The clearance cairns are heather covered mounds ranging in size from 3m to 8m
in diameter and standing to a maximum height of 1m. There are two larger
mounds measuring 10m in diameter and up to 0.8m high; the more northerly mound
has been disturbed by the former existence of an Ordnance Survey Trig point
erected at its centre. The cairnfield represents an area of clearance for
agricultural purposes during the Bronze Age. Although no definite fields can
now be distinguished, traces of field walls and small lynchets were reported
by field inspection in 1976. The latter, appearing as low banks, represent an
accumulation of soil caused by continuous cultivation.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

The cairnfield on Whitefield Edge survives in a good state of preservation.
Evidence relating to the nature of Bronze Age agriculture will be preserved
within and beneath the clearance cairns. Important environmental evidence
will also be preserved on the old land surface beneath and between the cairns.

Source: Historic England


No. 2564,

Source: Historic England

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