Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield, carved rocks and associated curved bank at north west end of Green Crag Slack, east of Gill Head Reservoir

A Scheduled Monument in Ilkley, Bradford

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Latitude: 53.9127 / 53°54'45"N

Longitude: -1.8032 / 1°48'11"W

OS Eastings: 413023.223267

OS Northings: 446305.593441

OS Grid: SE130463

Mapcode National: GBR HRV6.D4

Mapcode Global: WHC8P.8XK9

Entry Name: Cairnfield, carved rocks and associated curved bank at north west end of Green Crag Slack, east of Gill Head Reservoir

Scheduled Date: 25 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013872

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25342

County: Bradford

Civil Parish: Ilkley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ben Rhydding St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes a small cairnfield of at least five cairns, three carved
rocks and a long, curved, rubble bank at the north west edge of Green Crag
Slack, due north of Green Crag Enclosure.
The rubble bank is c.2m wide and up to 0.6m high, and contains orthostats. One
of the cairns is incorporated into the rubble bank. The bank is c.140m long
and is discontinuous where crossed by paths. At the eastern end it runs to the
edge of a disused stone quarry. The rubble bank in conjunction with the edge
of the scarp may once have formed an enclosure, although this is not certain.
The cairns and carved rocks are contained within an area bounded by the rubble
bank to the south, and the top of a steep slope to the north. The cairns are
small, in the range 3m-5m diameter. They appear to be undisturbed.
The carved rocks include a large, prominent rock known as Haystack Rock with
complex carvings in the cup and ring tradition. The remaining rocks bear
simple designs consisting of cups.

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.

Within the landscape of Rombalds Moor are many discrete plots of land enclosed
by stone walls or banks of stone and earth, most of which date from the Bronze
Age (c.2000-700 BC), although earlier and later examples may also exist. They
are believed to have been constructed as protected areas for settlement, stock
penning, or crop growing, and may also have been used for ritual purposes.
They may be subdivided into a series of smaller enclosures; those used for
settlement retain evidence of the round huts originally located within them.
The size and form of the enclosures vary considerably, depending on their
particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and relation to other
monument classes provide important information on the diversity of social
organisation and farming practices among prehistoric communities. They are
particularly representative of their period, and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are worthy of protection.
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.500 BC) and provide one of 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 carving sites will normally be
identified as nationally important.
This monument combines a small cairnfield with a long curving rubble bank,
best interpreted as a prehistoric enclosure, and a number of carved rocks. All
these features survive well. Together they form an important part of the
prehistoric landscape on this part of Rombalds Moor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hedges, J D (ed), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, (1986), 94
Hedges, J D (ed), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, (1986), 94
Hedges, J D (ed), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, (1986), 47

Source: Historic England

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