Ancient Monuments

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Long cairn 330m east of Mossthorn

A Scheduled Monument in Dacre, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.6679 / 54°40'4"N

Longitude: -2.8037 / 2°48'13"W

OS Eastings: 348258.109392

OS Northings: 530605.809684

OS Grid: NY482306

Mapcode National: GBR 8GVG.SH

Mapcode Global: WH813.XX2X

Entry Name: Long cairn 330m east of Mossthorn

Scheduled Date: 31 December 1952

Last Amended: 7 February 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012818

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23765

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Dacre

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Newton Reigny St John

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a partly mutilated long cairn located on Copt How ridge
330m east of Mossthorn. It is aligned north west - south east and includes a
turf-covered mound of cobbles and earth measuring 33m along its long axis by
20m wide and 1.5m - 2m high. A number of urns were reportedly discovered here
several years ago but their present whereabouts is unknown.

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.

Despite some quarrying of the monument's western side, the long cairn 330m
east of Mossthorn survives reasonably well. It is one of a number of surviving
Neolithic and later prehistoric monuments situated in close proximity to
Penrith and the Eden valley, and attests to the importance of this area in
prehistoric times and the diversity of monument classes to be found here.

Source: Historic England


FMW Report, Crow, J, Long cairns E of Mossthorn Farm, (1985)
SMR Ref. No. 3792, Cumbria SMR, Long cairns E of Mossthorn Farm, (1984)

Source: Historic England

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