Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield and carved rocks on Snowden Carr 670m south west of Low Hall Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Askwith, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.9548 / 53°57'17"N

Longitude: -1.7309 / 1°43'51"W

OS Eastings: 417752.839584

OS Northings: 450996.641606

OS Grid: SE177509

Mapcode National: GBR JQCQ.12

Mapcode Global: WHC8J.CVZL

Entry Name: Cairnfield and carved rocks on Snowden Carr 670m south west of Low Hall Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 April 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014303

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28064

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Askwith

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Weston All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes a cairnfield consisting of at least 25 cairns, a number
of fragments of boulder walling, and at least 12 carved rocks. It is situated
on Snowden Carr, east of a carpark on Askwith Moor Road, and is crossed by a
gas pipeline.
The cairns range from 3m-8m in diameter, and are up to 1m high. The walling
consists of rough lines of boulders partly obscured by deep heather. Most of
the cairns are undisturbed, but some of the larger carved rocks appear to have
been hewn for building stone; this is most common at the north eastern edge of
the cairnfield.
The carvings on the rocks vary from a few cup marks to complexes of cups,
rings, and grooves. Most are concentrated in a small area close to the eastern
edge of the cairnfield. Some of the rocks are incorporated into cairns, but it
is not clear whether the carvings were made before or after the rocks were
moved. The majority of carvings are on rocks which are well-embedded in the

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one
another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone
cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture,
and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without
excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC),
although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance
which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze
Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size,
content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the
development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the
prehistoric period.

Prehistoric rock carving is found on natural boulders and rock outcrops in
many areas of upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England
in Northumberland, Durham, and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form
of decoration is the `cup' marking, where small cup-like hollows are worked
into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more
`rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the rings may also
exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Other shapes and patterns also
occur but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups, or
may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and
Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide one our most important insights
into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains unknown, but
they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols. All positively
identified prehistoric rock carvings exhibiting a significant group of designs
will normally be identified as nationally important.
This cairnfield survives well and may preserve burials. It forms part of the
prehistoric landscape of Snowden Carr.
The carvings on these rocks also survive well and information on their
relationship to the cairnfield will be preserved.

Source: Historic England

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