Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round cairn 630m ENE of Sunbiggin Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Orton, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.4753 / 54°28'30"N

Longitude: -2.5176 / 2°31'3"W

OS Eastings: 366552.841615

OS Northings: 509002.743983

OS Grid: NY665090

Mapcode National: GBR BJVP.QH

Mapcode Global: WH93C.9SC1

Entry Name: Round cairn 630m ENE of Sunbiggin Farm

Scheduled Date: 1 December 1964

Last Amended: 17 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011149

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23619

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Orton

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Orton with Tebay All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is a round cairn located 630m ENE of Sunbiggin Farm, on the edge
of a promontory of high ground projecting south from the limestone upland
known as Little Kinmond. It includes a partly turf-covered mound of limestone
rubble 17.5m in diameter and up to 2m high. At the cairn's centre is an
irregular hollow 0.5m deep containing the remains of a stone cist investigated
during the 19th century. The remains of three burials were found either in the
cist or in close proximity to it, together with a stone artefact, bones of ox
and goat and a portion of deer antler.

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 cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or
multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined
compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch.
Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the
modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are
the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation
amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of
their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of protection.

Despite limited antiquarian investigation of the monument's centre, the round
cairn 630m ENE of Sunbiggin Farm survives reasonably well. This
investigation located human and faunal remains together with a stone artefact
and further evidence that interments and grave goods will exist within the
mound and upon the old land surface beneath.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Greenwell, W , British Barrows, (1877), 395
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)
SMR No. 1968, Cumbria SMR, Round Barrow 1/3 mile NE of Sunbiggin, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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