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Cairnfield 600m west of Highlow Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Highlow, Derbyshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.3176 / 53°19'3"N

Longitude: -1.6812 / 1°40'52"W

OS Eastings: 421332.041453

OS Northings: 380120.089757

OS Grid: SK213801

Mapcode National: GBR JZP2.TG

Mapcode Global: WHCCN.4WP1

Entry Name: Cairnfield 600m west of Highlow Hall

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016997

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31251

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Highlow

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Hathersage St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Derby

Details

The monument includes a large group of clearance cairns and three short linear
field banks, together with the remains of two larger funerary cairns. The
complex is interpreted as evidence for extensive prehistoric settlement and
agriculture.
The cairnfield occupies a well drained position in open moorland and forms
part of a larger area of prehistoric settlement and agriculture on the same
moorlands. It is separated from other comparable remains (which are the
subject of separate schedulings) by an area of rough, uncleared ground. There
are between 40 and 70 prehistoric cairns, ranging from 1.5m to about 6m in
diameter. Some of the cairns are ovoid in shape, indicating that they may once
have been included in linear field divisions. Within the cairnfield are the
remains of three or more linear field banks consisting of fragmentary and
irregular lines of stones and turf, which are thought to have resulted from
debris, cleared from cultivation plots, being thrown against hedges or fences
in prehistoric times. These field banks are taken as evidence for arable
cultivation on the moorland (within the complex of features are traces of
possible prehistoric lynchets, formed during the ploughing of small
cultivation plots).
Within the cairnfield is a large cairn or barrow measuring approximately 16m
in diameter. It has been robbed at its centre leaving an arc of stones and
turf. There are no recorded finds from this barrow and it is possible that
buried material remains intact below ground. Standing at the north western end
of the cairnfield is another large round cairn which appears to comprise two
stony mounds, one abutting the other. The centre and western end of the
structure have been removed, but much of the cairn material still remains
intact. The cairn overlooks the cairnfield and surrounding landscape and at
least part of the structure may have been constructed during the earlier
phases of settlement in the area. Their relationship to each other, together
with evidence from a recent small excavation of one of the clearance cairns,
indicates that prehistoric settlement in this area existed for some
considerable time.
All drystone walls and fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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.
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 have been placed within stone-lined
compartments called cists. 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 equivalents 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 prehistoric communities.
The cairnfield 600m west of Highlow Hall survives well and will retain
significant archaeology in its features. As such, it is important to our
understanding of prehistoric agriculture and settlement on the gritstone moors
of the Peak District.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in The Prehistoric Cairnfield at Highlow Bank ..., , Vol. Vol. CXI, (1991), 5-30
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 67-8
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 67-8
Other
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
Barnatt, J. W., Highlow Hall and Eyam Moor ... Archaeological Survey 1994-95, 1995, unpublished survey report
Barnatt, J. W., Highlow Hall and Eyam Moor ... Archaeological Survey 1994-95, 1995, unpublished survey report
Barnatt, J. W., Highlow Hall and Eyam Moor ... Archaeological Survey 1995-95, 1995, unpublished survey report
Barnatt, J. W., Highlow Hall and Eyam Moor ... Archaeological Survey 1995-95, 1995, unpublished survey report

Source: Historic England

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