Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric long cairn on Stainton Fell, 940m north east of Rowantree Force

A Scheduled Monument in Waberthwaite, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.34 / 54°20'23"N

Longitude: -3.3121 / 3°18'43"W

OS Eastings: 314790.060405

OS Northings: 494616.890442

OS Grid: SD147946

Mapcode National: GBR 5L98.Q0

Mapcode Global: WH71H.352R

Entry Name: Prehistoric long cairn on Stainton Fell, 940m north east of Rowantree Force

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016986

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32828

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Waberthwaite

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Millom

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a prehistoric long cairn located on the summit of a
small natural rise on enclosed moorland on the western slope of Stainton Fell,
940m north east of Rowantree Force. The long cairn is orientated east-west and
is very well defined at the western end but merges into the natural slope at
the eastern end. It measures 27m long by 13m wide and up to 1.5m high. At the
western end there are a group of stones considered to originally have been
portal stones or the remains of a straight frontal facade. The monument
closely resembles a similarly sized long cairn at Lochhill in south west
Scotland which was excavated and dated to about 3100 BC.

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

The Cumbrian uplands comprise large areas of remote mountainous terrain, much
of which is largely open fellside. As a result of archaeological surveys
between 1980 and 1990 within the Lake District National Park, these fells have
become one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the open fells
there is sufficient well preserved and understood evidence over extensive
areas for human exploitation of these uplands from the Neolithic to the post-
medieval period. On the enclosed land and within forestry the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but they survive sufficiently well to show that human
activity extended beyond the confines of the open fells. Bronze Age activity
accounts for the most extensive use of the area, and evidence for it includes
some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairn fields in
England, as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles
and other ceremonial remains. Taken together, their remains can provide a
detailed insight into life in the later prehistoric period. Of additional
importance is the well-preserved and often visible relationship between the
remains of earlier and later periods, since this provides an understanding of
changes in land use through time. Because of their rarity in a national
context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, most
prehistoric monuments on the Lake District fells will be identified as
nationally important.

Long cairns were constructed as elongated rubble mounds and acted as funerary
monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (about 3400-2400 BC).
They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and,
as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the
present landscape. Where investigated, long cairns appear to have been used
for communal burial. They sometimes display evidence of internal structural
arrangements, including stone-lined compartments and tomb chambers constructed
from massive slabs. Some examples also show edge-set kerb stones bounding
parts of the cairn perimeter. Certain sites provide evidence for several
phases of funeral activity preceding construction of the cairn, and
consequently it is probable that long cairns acted as important ritual sites
for local comminities over a considerable period of time. As one of the few
types of Neolithic structure to survive as a visible monument and due to their
comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument
type, all positively identified long cairns are considered to be nationally
The prehistoric long cairn on Stainton Fell, 940m north east of Rowantree
Force survives well and forms part of a large area of well-preserved
prehistoric landscape extending along the fellsides of south west Cumbria. In
conjunction with a wide range of other prehistoric monuments in the vicinity
it represents evidence of long term management and exploitation of this area
in prehistoric times.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 51-58

Source: Historic England

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