Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairnfield on Ravock, 880m north west of Rovegill House

A Scheduled Monument in Bowes, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5203 / 54°31'13"N

Longitude: -2.0642 / 2°3'50"W

OS Eastings: 395943.906348

OS Northings: 513893.811385

OS Grid: NY959138

Mapcode National: GBR GJ05.XC

Mapcode Global: WHB4J.8N90

Entry Name: Cairnfield on Ravock, 880m north west of Rovegill House

Scheduled Date: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016609

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31819

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Bowes

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes a large prehistoric cairnfield on the south edge of the
upland plateau of Ravock, on Bowes Moor, 880m north west of Ravock Castle.
The cairnfield consists of at least 80 cairns and several rubble banks. The
cairns are between 2m and 7m in diameter and are up to 0.7m high. They are
composed of sandstone rubble and boulders. All have had some stone removed in
the past for walling. Nine of the cairns are significantly larger, between 10m
and 12m in diameter. All of these larger cairns have been robbed for
walling stone and survive as sub-circular or crescentic rubble banks. One of
the cairns has a derelict modern wall built across it. The rubble banks vary
from indistinct stony crests to substantial banks 4m wide and 0.5m high.
The combination of cairns and linear banks indicates that the complex is
largely the remains of a prehistoric field system although some cairns,
particularly the larger ones, may also have been used for burial.

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

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.

The cairnfield on Ravock, 880m north west of Rovegill House survives well and
will retain significant information on prehistoric land use on the moor. It is
also part of a wider prehistoric landscape in the area which includes further
cairns and field systems.

Source: Historic England


Ravock, Cleveland County Archaeology Section, A66 Archaeology Project, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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