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A chambered tomb and two bowl barrows on Minning Low

A Scheduled Monument in Brassington, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.1124 / 53°6'44"N

Longitude: -1.6887 / 1°41'19"W

OS Eastings: 420935.391589

OS Northings: 357290.486287

OS Grid: SK209572

Mapcode National: GBR 47L.ZVC

Mapcode Global: WHCDT.1149

Entry Name: A chambered tomb and two bowl barrows on Minning Low

Scheduled Date: 18 August 1882

Last Amended: 22 January 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009102

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13369

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Brassington

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Bradbourne All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Derby


Minning Low hill lies within the south-eastern uplands of the limestone
plateau of Derbyshire. The monument includes the chambered tomb and two bowl
barrows within a single constraint area which also incorporates the
archaeologically sensitive areas between and around the earthworks up to, but
not including, the encircling drystone wall.

The chambered tomb is the easternmost of these earthworks and comprises an
oval cairn measuring 45m by 38m and surviving to a height of 2.4m. A
wedge-shaped chamber of limestone slabs (Chamber I) survives with its capstone
in situ at the centre of the mound, while a second complete chamber (Chamber
II) lies c.5m to the south and also retains its capstone in addition to part
of its south-facing passage which is similarly covered by a capstone. The
remains of Chamber III lie c.5m to the west, while those of Chamber IV lie
near the edge of the barrow c.6m south of Chamber III. The collapsed slabs of
Chamber V lie on the western edge and a single upright slab near the centre of
the barrow has been interpreted as the remains of a small cist. During the
partial excavations of the site by Thomas Bateman in 1843 and 1851, the mound
was found to be constructed of coursed stone and the chambers to contain human
bones, including one extended skeleton, fragments of Romano-British Derbyshire
ware pottery and a number of Roman coins. The latter show that the barrow had
been disturbed in the third or fourth century AD, but Beaker sherds found by
Bateman in Chamber IV indicate a Late Neolithic or Bronze Age date for that
particular chamber. This represents the latest phase of Prehistoric use since
further excavation, carried out by Barry Marsden in 1973-4, has led to the
barrow being interpreted as a multi-period site, beginning with the
construction of Chamber I and its drystone walled approach passage in the
Early Neolithic period. There is no precise chronology for the remaining
phases but an extended period of use throughout the Neolithic and into the
Early Bronze Age is indicated. Marsden also found evidence of Roman re-use of
the site in three Roman bronzes and pottery sherds recovered from Chamber III.
He also found a drystone wall running through the north-west side of the
barrow. This was traced for c.10m and was orientated east-west.

The two bowl barrows lie c.25m north-west of the chambered tomb. The second of
these is superimposed onto the first so that, together, they form an oval
mound measuring 23.5m by 16.5m and standing c.2m high. The two were partially
excavated by Thomas Bateman in 1849 when the earlier was found to be a
limestone cairn containing a central primary cist which had been disturbed at
an earlier date. A secondary cremation burial was also found, dating the
barrow to the Bronze Age. The later bowl barrow was of earthen construction
and contained an in situ primary cremation, two flint knives, a burnt bronze
razor and a bone tool. This barrow also dates to the Bronze Age, indicating an
extended period of use at this site. Like the chambered tomb, both barrows had
been disturbed in the Roman period.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Chambered tombs are funerary monuments constructed and used during the Early
and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They comprise linear mounds of
stone covering one or more stone-lined burial chambers. With other types of
long barrow they form the burial places of Britain's early farming communities
and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly within
the present landscape. Where investigated, chambered tombs appear to have been
used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having
been selected for interment. The number of burials placed within the tombs
suggests they were used over a considerable period of time and that they were
important ritual sites for local communities. Some 300 chambered tombs are
recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive
as upstanding monuments, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and
longevity as a monument type, all chambered tombs are considered to be
nationally important.

The chambered tomb at Minning Low is a reasonably well preserved example
containing rare intact architectural features as well as significant areas of
undisturbed archaeological remains. Like several other Neolithic barrows in
the Peak District it is situated adjacent to a later barrow site: in this
case, to two Bronze Age bowl barrows which are also well preserved. The entire
monument illustrates the continued use of Neolithic burial foci during the
Bronze Age and demonstrates changing burial customs during these periods. In
addition, the chambered tomb is the largest in Derbyshire and is of an unusual
type common to the Peak District in which the burial chambers are covered by a
sub-circular or oval barrow instead of the more typical linear form.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Bateman, T, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, (1849), 39-40
Bateman, T, Ten Years Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave-Hills, (1861), 54-5
Bateman, T, Ten Years Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave-Hills, (1861), 54,82-3
Bateman, T, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, (1849), 39-40
Marsden, B M, The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire , (1977), 12
Marsden, B M, The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire , (1977), 4
Manby, T G, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in The Chambered Tombs of Derbyshire, , Vol. 78, (1958), 25-39

Source: Historic England

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