Ancient Monuments

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Burnt mound 570m east of Widdy Bank Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Forest and Frith, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.6622 / 54°39'43"N

Longitude: -2.245 / 2°14'41"W

OS Eastings: 384294.1946

OS Northings: 529703.553822

OS Grid: NY842297

Mapcode National: GBR DGRJ.RJ

Mapcode Global: WHB3V.H25Q

Entry Name: Burnt mound 570m east of Widdy Bank Farm

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017126

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33493

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Forest and Frith

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes a burnt mound on the Tees floodplain below Cronkley
Scar, Upper Teesdale. The mound lies on the south side of the Tees, near the
south edge of the floodplain, adjacent to a small sike.
The burnt mound is visible as an approximately circular, grass and heather
covered bank of burnt stone and charcoal, around a central hollow. It is 13m
in total diameter. The bank of burnt stone is up to 5m wide and 1m high. There
are two breaks in the bank, one in the south side and one in the west.

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

A burnt mound is an accumulation of burnt (fire-crazed) stones, ash and
charcoal, usually sited next to a river or lake. On excavation, some form of
trough or basin capable of holding water is normally found in close
association with the mound. The size of the mound can vary considerably; small
examples may be under 0.5m high and less than 10m in diameter, larger examples
may exceed 3m in height and be 35m in diameter. The shape of the mound ranges
from circular to crescentic. The associated trough or basin may be found
within the body of the mound or, more usually, immediately adjacent to it. At
sites which are crescentic in shape the trough is normally found within the
`arms' of the crescent and the mound has the appearance of having developed
around it.
The main phase of use of burnt mounds spans the Early, Middle and Late Bronze
Age, a period of around 1000 years. The function of the mounds has been a
matter of some debate, but it appears that cooking, using heated stones to
boil water in a trough or tank, is the most likely use. Some excavated sites
have revealed several phases of construction, indicating that individual sites
were used more than once.
Burnt mounds are found widely scattered throughout the British Isles, with
around 100 examples identified in England. As a rare monument type which
provides an insight into life in the Bronze Age, all well-preserved examples
will normally be identified as nationally important.

The burnt mound 570m east of Widdy Bank Farm survives well and forms an
important part of the wider prehistoric landscape of Upper Teesdale which
includes burnt mounds, cairnfields, burial cairns, settlements, enclosures and
field systems.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Laurie, T, Burnt mounds, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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