Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round cairn on Birkrigg Common, 600m north west of High Sunbrick Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Urswick, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.1609 / 54°9'39"N

Longitude: -3.0957 / 3°5'44"W

OS Eastings: 328549.232735

OS Northings: 474452.288145

OS Grid: SD285744

Mapcode National: GBR 6NTB.L6

Mapcode Global: WH72C.FP21

Entry Name: Round cairn on Birkrigg Common, 600m north west of High Sunbrick Farm

Scheduled Date: 27 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013964

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27691

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Urswick

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria


The monument includes a round cairn located on a small hillside plateau on
Birkrigg Common, 600m north west of High Sunbrick Farm. It includes a turf
covered slightly oval-shaped mound of limestone rubble measuring 15m east-west
by 14m north-south and up to 0.8m high. At the centre of the cairn there is a
small disturbed area indicating the position of an unrecorded investigation of
the monument. Within this area of disturbance there are two upright limestone
slabs which formed part of the cist or stone chamber within which an
inhumation burial would have been placed.

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 at the centre of the monument, the round cairn
600m north west of High Sunbrick Farm survives reasonably well. This
investigation has exposed a stone cist or burial chamber, and further evidence
of inhumations will exist within the cairn and upon the old landsurface

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gelderd, C, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Some Birkrigg Barrows, , Vol. XIV, (1914), 466-8
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)
SMR No. 2370, Cumbria SMR, Birkrigg, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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