Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round cairn, 280m SSE of Sandyway Heads

A Scheduled Monument in Matfen, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.0661 / 55°3'57"N

Longitude: -1.932 / 1°55'55"W

OS Eastings: 404441.642256

OS Northings: 574627.747703

OS Grid: NZ044746

Mapcode National: GBR G9YV.JR

Mapcode Global: WHB1W.9X8M

Entry Name: Round cairn, 280m SSE of Sandyway Heads

Scheduled Date: 29 April 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014071

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25182

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Matfen

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Stamfordham

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a round cairn of Bronze Age date situated
on the edge of a scarp commanding fine views to the south and east. The cairn,
constructed of stone and earth, has a diameter of 16m and and stands to a
maximum height of 1.5m. During the 19th century several Bronze Age objects
were discovered in this area including fragments of two bronze shields and a
small Bronze Age axe. These items are probably associated with the builders of
the cairn.

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.

The cairn near Sandyway Heads is reasonably well preserved and retains
significant archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is
enhanced by the survival of contemporary funerary and settlement monuments in
the immediate vicinity which taken together will contribute to any study of
Bronze Age settlement and activity in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hope-Dodds, M , The Victoria History of the County of Northumberland: Volume XII, (1940)
NZ 07 SW 11,

Source: Historic England

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