Ancient Monuments

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Madam Law Cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.5339 / 55°32'2"N

Longitude: -2.2194 / 2°13'9"W

OS Eastings: 386249.320001

OS Northings: 626712.698822

OS Grid: NT862267

Mapcode National: GBR D4YG.91

Mapcode Global: WH9ZL.W5BF

Entry Name: Madam Law Cairn

Scheduled Date: 21 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010335

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24592

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirknewton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

This monument includes a round cairn situated on high ground overlooking land
to the south, north and east, but overlooked by a hill to the south west. The
cairn was built of stone, but is now turf covered and measures 13m in
diameter. It has been built slightly off the summit of the hill to the south
west, resulting in the cairn being taller on the west downhill side than on
the east uphill side. The cairn therefore has a maximum height of 1.5m on the
north west side and a minimum height of 0.3m on the south east side. In
addition a modern cairn of stones has been placed on top of the mound, but
slightly to the south west. A modern fence has been erected along the southern
edge of the mound. This fence is excluded from the scheduling although the
ground beneath it is included.

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

Round cairn cemeteries date to the Bronze Age. They comprise groups of cairns
sited in close proximity to one another and take the form of stone mounds
constructed to cover single or multiple burials. Contemporary or later `flat'
graves may lie between individual cairns. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time and they can exhibit considerable diversity of
burial rite, plan and form. Occasionally they are associated with earlier long
cairns. They may also be associated with clearance cairns - heaps of stones
cleared from the adjacent ground surface to improve its quality for
agricultural activities; these were also being constructed during the Bronze
Age, although some examples are of later date. It may be impossible without
excavation to distinguish between some burial and clearance cairns. Round
cairn cemeteries occur throughout most of upland Britain; their distribution
pattern complements that of contemporary lowland earthen round barrows. Often
occupying prominent locations they are a major historic element in the modern
landscape. Their diversity and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of preservation.

This round cairn is a good example which appears to be intact. It is visible
from a large area and is one of a series of cairns stretching from
Tuppie's Grave to Trowupburn and north to Coldsmouth Hill. As such, this cairn
will contribute significantly towards a fuller understanding of the funerary
landscape of the Bronze Age and will contribute to the study of beliefs and
social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities.

Source: Historic England

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