Ancient Monuments

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Long cairn 360m south west of Dour Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Rochester, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3127 / 55°18'45"N

Longitude: -2.3287 / 2°19'43"W

OS Eastings: 379234.64668

OS Northings: 602121.812625

OS Grid: NT792021

Mapcode National: GBR D750.NB

Mapcode Global: WH8ZD.6QCK

Entry Name: Long cairn 360m south west of Dour Hill

Scheduled Date: 17 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009379

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25098

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Rochester

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Horsley with Byrness

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a long cairn of Neolithic date situated
on the west slope of Dour Hill commanding extensive views into the valley of
the Rede. The cairn, orientated north west to south east, is 50m long and 8.5m
wide and stands to a maximum height of 2m. A Bronze Age cist, a form of stone
coffin which was clearly a later insertion, is situated 6m from the southern
end of the cairn and measures 1.2m by 0.6m. This cist was excavated in the
1930s and a flint tool was recovered.

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

Long cairns were constructed as elongated rubble mounds and acted as funerary
monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (c.3400-2400 BC). They
represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as
such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present
landscape. Where investigated, long cairns appear to have been used for
communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been
selected for interment. Long cairns sometimes display evidence of internal
structural arrangements, including stone-lined compartments and tomb chambers
constructed from massive slabs. Some examples also show edge-set kerb stones
bounding parts of the cairn perimeter. Certain sites provide evidence for
several phases of funeral activity preceding construction of the cairn, and
consequently it is probable that long cairns acted as important ritual sites
for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 examples of
long cairns and long barrows, their counterparts in central and eastern
England, are recorded nationally. As one of the few types of Neolithic
structure to survive as a visible monument and due to their comparative
rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all
positively identified long cairns are considered to be nationally important.

Dour Hill long cairn is one of few surviving long cairns in Northumberland. It
survives well and will add to our understanding of Neolithic settlement and
activity in the region.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Miket, R, Burgess, C (eds), Between and Beyond the Walls, (1984), 65-6
Hewat Craw, J, 'Hist Berwick Natur Club 27 pt 3' in , (1931), 329
Punshaw, G, Miller, J E, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 6' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 6, (1934), 40-41

Source: Historic England

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