Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round cairn on western slopes of Dour Hill, 250m south west of summit

A Scheduled Monument in Rochester, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3125 / 55°18'45"N

Longitude: -2.3261 / 2°19'33"W

OS Eastings: 379399.529479

OS Northings: 602099.51677

OS Grid: NT793020

Mapcode National: GBR D760.6D

Mapcode Global: WH8ZD.7QLP

Entry Name: Round cairn on western slopes of Dour Hill, 250m south west of summit

Scheduled Date: 3 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015844

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28552

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Rochester

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Horsley with Byrness

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a round cairn of Bronze Age date situated in a prominent
location on the western slopes of Dour Hill, some 170m east of Dour Hill Long
Cairn. The cairn is visible as an annular bank of stone and earth 3m wide and
12m in diameter. Within the interior there is a cist, or stone coffin which
measures 1.4m by 0.8m and is 0.5m deep. A large slab of stone, which served as
the capstone of the cist is lying immediately to its south west. In 1975 the
capstone was removed by machine during forestry operations in the area, and
the interior was excavated. The fragments of what were thought to be the
skeletons of two children, several pieces of Bronze Age pottery, part of a
hazelnut shell and a complete Bronze Age pot were removed. It is thought that
the pieces of pottery came from a second pot which had been robbed from
beneath the capstone by earlier antiquaries. The limited excavation also
revealed the existence of a cist construction pit and small areas of burning
beneath the surrounding stone 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.

Despite some disturbance from antiquarian investigation and subsequent
afforestation, this round cairn on Dour Hill is reasonably well preserved and
retains significant archaeological deposits.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 5th series' in A Food Vessel Burial On Dour Hill, Byrness, , Vol. 5, (1977), 204-6

Source: Historic England

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