Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield 470m south west of Offerton House

A Scheduled Monument in Offerton, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.3231 / 53°19'23"N

Longitude: -1.6862 / 1°41'10"W

OS Eastings: 421000.80576

OS Northings: 380734.666272

OS Grid: SK210807

Mapcode National: GBR JZN0.RG

Mapcode Global: WHCCN.2QBS

Entry Name: Cairnfield 470m south west of Offerton House

Scheduled Date: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016626

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31248

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Offerton

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Hathersage St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes a discrete group of at least seven cairns forming a
cairnfield, interpreted as prehistoric land clearance. In addition to the
individual clearance cairns, there are fragmentary traces of linear clearance
banks. The cairnfield occupies a well drained area in open moorland.
The cairnfield forms part of a larger area of prehistoric settlement and
agriculture. It is separated from other components by an area of rough
uncleared land. The cairns range from 1.5m to 5m in diameter.
At the northern end of the cairnfield are the remains of linear field banks
consisting of fragmentary lines of clearance material. These are interpreted
as the result of clearance from cultivation plots being thrown against hedges
or fences in prehistoric times and are evidence of prehistoric arable
Within the cairnfield are two upright boulders arranged as if they were two
sides of a stile. The date and function of this feature is unknown, but it is
unlikely to be a natural formation.
The complex is interpreted as evidence for Bronze Age clearance and
agriculture forming part of an extensive pattern of settlement and agriculture
on the moorland during prehistoric times.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the
River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open
moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going
archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best
recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early
human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors.
On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over
extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the
Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the
most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the
largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England
as well settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other
ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in
the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible
relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this
provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time.
A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity
in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections,
will be identified as nationally important.

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 land surface to improve its use for agriculture
and on occasions their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
Occasionally, some of the cairns were used for funerary purposes, although
without excavation it is difficult to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3,400 BC),
although the majority date from the Bronze Age (2,000-700 BC). Cairnfields can
also retain information concerning the development of land use and
agricultural practices as well as the diversity of beliefs and social
organisation during the prehistoric period.
The cairnfield 470m south west of Offerton House is particularly important in
that the series of clearance cairns can be seen to directly associate with
field clearance banks. As such it is important to our understanding of
prehistoric agriculture and settlement on the gritstone moors of the Peak

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 66-68
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 66-68

Source: Historic England

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