Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield, standing stone and cup marked rock on Debdon Moor 500m south-west of Primrose Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Cartington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.321 / 55°19'15"N

Longitude: -1.9119 / 1°54'42"W

OS Eastings: 405688.162546

OS Northings: 602990.243637

OS Grid: NU056029

Mapcode National: GBR H62X.WD

Mapcode Global: WHB0Q.LJS7

Entry Name: Cairnfield, standing stone and cup marked rock on Debdon Moor 500m south-west of Primrose Cottage

Scheduled Date: 2 December 1952

Last Amended: 17 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011634

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20901

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Cartington

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes an extensive cairnfield of Bronze Age date situated on
and below the crest of a low ridge orientated north-east to south-west. The
cairnfield contains at least thirty stone clearance cairns; their mounds range
in size from 4m to 10m in diameter and up to a maximum height of 1.5m. The
cairns represent a period of clearance in preparation for agricultural use.
Two of the cairns are larger than the others and have central hollows, the
result of partial excavation in the 19th century. One of these cairns
has traces of a retaining circle visible on its south-eastern periphery and is
likely to have been funerary in origin. A standing stone measuring 1.1m by
0.7m in section and surviving to a height of 1m is situated to the north of
the low ridge among the clearance cairns. Situated upon the ridge, also
within the area of the cairnfield, there is a large triangular shaped boulder;
upon its flat surface there are seven cup marks and a circular basin 10cm

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

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one
another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone
cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture,
and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without
excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC),
although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance
which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze
Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size,
content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the
development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the
prehistoric period.

The cairnfield on Debdon Moor survives in an excellent state of preservation.
Evidence relating to the nature of Bronze Age agriculture is preserved within
and beneath the clearance cairns. The importance of this monument is
increased because the cairnfield is embedded in a layer of peat which has
preserved the old land surface in between the individual cairns; important
archaeological information will be preserved in these areas, such as ard
(Bronze Age plough) marks, and environmental evidence, including pollen, will
indicate the type of crops grown in the area.

Source: Historic England


No. 2285,
No. 816,
No. 824,

Source: Historic England

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