Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Ring cairn 25m east of Ell Clough

A Scheduled Monument in Briercliffe, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.8035 / 53°48'12"N

Longitude: -2.1514 / 2°9'5"W

OS Eastings: 390125.352306

OS Northings: 434145.189624

OS Grid: SD901341

Mapcode National: GBR FSFG.09

Mapcode Global: WHB7Y.XNPJ

Entry Name: Ring cairn 25m east of Ell Clough

Scheduled Date: 12 November 1928

Last Amended: 26 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009117

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23728

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Briercliffe

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire


The monument includes a ring cairn located on enclosed moorland 25m east of
Ell Clough. It includes a partly mutilated slightly oval circle of stones
which originally formed part of a ring bank measuring 17.6m north-south by
16.8m east-west. There are two rectangular hollows at the centre of the
monument which mark the site of limited antiquarian investigation undertaken
in 1887 during which a number of loose stones covering a flagstone or cist
were found. Beneath this flagstone was an urn measuring 12 inches high which
contained bones of two humans, an adult and a child, together with animal
bones and a bronze pin or awl four inches long.

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

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of
stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may
be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small
uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of
England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by fieldwork and ground
level survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial
photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples.
Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are
interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact
nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has
revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and
pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial
rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the
number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available
evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a
relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form,
all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological
deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite a combination of partial mutilation and limited antiquarian
investigation, the ring cairn 25m east of Ell Clough survives reasonably well.
This investigation located human remains, animal bones, pottery and metalwork,
and further evidence of interments and grave goods will exist at this

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnes, B, Man and the changing landscape, (1982), 100
'Trans Lancs & Chesh Antiq Soc' in Proceedings-Stone Circles and Ancient Relicts at Extwistle, , Vol. II, (1893), 159
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Small Stone Circles, (1990)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Ring Cairns, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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