Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round cairn, 300m south of Lowshield Green

A Scheduled Monument in Birtley, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.112 / 55°6'43"N

Longitude: -2.1759 / 2°10'33"W

OS Eastings: 388876.731528

OS Northings: 579749.61723

OS Grid: NY888797

Mapcode National: GBR F97B.Q9

Mapcode Global: WHB1K.KR2X

Entry Name: Round cairn, 300m south of Lowshield Green

Scheduled Date: 1 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014050

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25167

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Birtley

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Birtley St Giles

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a round cairn of Bronze Age date situated
on a level plateau on a steep north facing slope. The cairn is visible as the
disturbed remains of a flat topped mound composed of stone and earth measuring
20m in diameter and standing to a maximum height of 0.4m. Slight indications
of a ditch 0.1m deep and a stone kerb surrounding the mound could be seen in
1965. The cairn was excavated in 1884 by G R Hall, the vicar of Birtley, when
it was found to contain two Bronze Age pottery vessels each containing a
cremated body. The location of the pottery is no longer known.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 some damage by antiquarian excavation the cairn near Lowshield Green
retains significant archaeological deposits. Evidence of the manner of
construction and the nature and duration of its use will be preserved within
and beneath the mound.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gibson, A M, Bronze Age Pottery in the North East of England, (1978)
Rome Hall, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 2 ser 12' in Archaeologia Aeliana 2 ser 12, (1887), 242-7
NY 87 NE 23,

Source: Historic England

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