Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round cairn on Appleby Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Aldingham, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.16 / 54°9'35"N

Longitude: -3.0901 / 3°5'24"W

OS Eastings: 328915.807205

OS Northings: 474346.961378

OS Grid: SD289743

Mapcode National: GBR 6NVB.SJ

Mapcode Global: WH72C.HPRR

Entry Name: Round cairn on Appleby Hill

Scheduled Date: 27 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013963

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27690

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Aldingham

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria


The monument includes a round cairn located on Birkrigg Common towards the
northern end of a ridge known as Appleby Hill. It includes a turf and bracken
covered oval-shaped mound of limestone rubble measuring 13.5m north west -
south east by 12m north east - south west and up to 1m high. Limited
investigation of the cairn undertaken in 1912 found a circle of standing
stones measuring approximately 3.7m in diameter arranged upon the old
land surface. Within this circle were upwards of 30 small deposits of black
earth each covered by a large stone or a stone slab. Some of these black earth
deposits were mixed with charcoal and some contained fragments of pottery; in
practically every case red, green or quartz pebbles were found with the black
earth. To the east, and outside the stone circle, human teeth and fragments of
pot tempered with pyrites were found on the old landsurface. Within the body
of the cairn fragments of bones from three human interments; an adult, a young
person and a child, were found together with a bronze pin interpreted as a
tatooing awl.

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 investigation of the monument, the round cairn on Appleby Hill
survives reasonably well. This investigation located human remains, pottery
and a bronze tatooing awl, and further evidence of interments and grave goods
will exist within the cairn and upon the old landsurface beneath.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gelderd, C, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Some Birkrigg Barrows, , Vol. XIV, (1914), 478-72
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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