Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round cairn on Birkrigg Common, 520m north west of High Sunbrick Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Aldingham, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.1597 / 54°9'34"N

Longitude: -3.0988 / 3°5'55"W

OS Eastings: 328345.700822

OS Northings: 474322.8744

OS Grid: SD283743

Mapcode National: GBR 6NSB.XM

Mapcode Global: WH72C.CPMZ

Entry Name: Round cairn on Birkrigg Common, 520m north west of High Sunbrick Farm

Scheduled Date: 12 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013965

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27692

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Aldingham

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria


The monument includes a round cairn located on the summit plateau of the
highest point on Birkrigg Common lying 350m west of Appleby Slack. It includes
a turf covered slightly oval-shaped mound of limestone rubble measuring 11.5m
east-west by 11m north-south and up to 0.8m high. A small outcrop of limestone
bedrock has been used to form a kerb around the north eastern side of the
cairn. At the centre of the mound there is an irregular-shaped small hollow
indicating the position of an unrecorded investigation of the monument.

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 unrecorded investigation at the centre of the monument, the
round cairn 520m north west of High Sunbrick Farm survives reasonably well. It
will contain undisturbed archaeological deposits within the mound and upon the
old land surface beneath.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gelderd, C, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Some Birkrigg Barrows, , Vol. XIV, (1914), 466-79
Cumbria SMR, Birkrigg, (1986)
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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