Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round cairn 680m north east of Bygate Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Belsay, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.0868 / 55°5'12"N

Longitude: -1.8839 / 1°53'1"W

OS Eastings: 407509.55708

OS Northings: 576936.998151

OS Grid: NZ075769

Mapcode National: GBR H98M.YB

Mapcode Global: WHC31.1D6Q

Entry Name: Round cairn 680m north east of Bygate Farm

Scheduled Date: 3 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015845

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28553

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Belsay

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Stamfordham

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a round cairn of Bronze Age date situated on the eastern
slopes of Sharp Law. The cairn, constructed of stone and earth measures 10m in
diameter and stands to a maximum height of 0.5m. The cairn has been disturbed
at its centre in the past. A cist, or stone coffin, containing a human skull
and a whole Bronze Age pot recorded from the area in the early 19th century is
thought to have come from the centre of this 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, the round cairn 680m
north east of Bygate farm is reasonably well preserved and retains significant
archaeological deposits. It is one of few surviving round cairns in this part
of Northumberland which will add to our understanding of prehistoric ritual
and funerary practices.

Source: Historic England


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Source: Historic England

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