Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield with rubble banks and carved rocks above Stead Crag

A Scheduled Monument in Burley, Bradford

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Latitude: 53.909 / 53°54'32"N

Longitude: -1.7919 / 1°47'30"W

OS Eastings: 413768.427429

OS Northings: 445890.395598

OS Grid: SE137458

Mapcode National: GBR HRX7.VH

Mapcode Global: WHC8W.F0YM

Entry Name: Cairnfield with rubble banks and carved rocks above Stead Crag

Scheduled Date: 20 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011751

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25309

County: Bradford

Civil Parish: Burley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Burley-in-Wharfedale St Mary the Blessed Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes a cairnfield 500m x 100m stretching from a low hill
overlooking Green Crag Slack in the west to the eastern end of Stead Crag. It
contains a minimum of 52 cairns, five carved rocks, and a number of rubble
The cairns are subcircular in shape and mainly in the range of 1m-5m in
diameter. Most are composed of small to medium sized rounded stones. In a
small number of cases these are piled against large earthfast boulders.
The disturbed remains of a single, much larger cairn survive at the top of a
low hill at the north western end of the cairnfield. This large, robbed cairn
is c.15m in diameter and c.0.5m high. Although the surface remains are now
badly damaged, this is almost certainly a burial cairn.
The rubble banks in this cairnfield are mainly short and curved or undergo
frequent changes of direction. They are closely associated with the cairns,
often having a cairn at one or both ends, or along their length, particularly
at corners. They are identified as field boundaries within which the ground
was cleared of stone for agricultural purposes, the cleared stone having been
placed to form the associated clearance cairns.
The five carved rocks are widely distributed in the cairnfield and have
carvings in the cup and ring tradition ranging from a single cup mark to much
more complex designs consisting of cups, grooves and rings.

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

Rombalds Moor is an eastern outlier of the main Pennine range lying between
the valleys of the Wharfe and the Aire. The bulk of this area of 90 sq km of
rough moorland lies over 200m above sea level. The moor is particularly rich
in remains of prehistoric activity. The most numerous relics are the rock
carvings which can be found on many of the boulders and outcrops scattered
across the moor. Burial monuments, stone circles and a range of enclosed
settlements are also known.
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 occasionally their distribution 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 during 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 association of cairnfields provide important information
on the development and associations of land use and agricultural practices.
Cairnfields also retain information on the diversity of beliefs and social
organisation during the prehistoric period.

Prehistoric rock carving is found on natural boulders and rock outcrops in
many areas of upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England
in Northumberland, Durham, and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form
of decoration is the `cup' marking, where small cup-like hollows are worked
into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more
`rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the rings may also
exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Other shapes and patterns also
occur but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups, or
may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and
Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500BC) and provide one our most important insights
into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains unknown, but
they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols. All positively
identified prehistoric rock carvings sites will normally be identified as
nationally important.
This cairnfield survives well and displays many of the features typical of
this type of monument. The presence of carved rocks within the cairnfield may
be evidence of a link between rock carvings and other prehistoric features, or
continuing use of the same area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hedges, J D (ed), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, (1986), 101
Hedges, J D (ed), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, (1986), 49
Hedges, J D (ed), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, (1986), 49
Hedges, J D (ed), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, (1986), 49
Hedges, J D (ed), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, (1986), 101
Hedges, J D (ed), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, (1986), 103

Source: Historic England

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