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Prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system on Waberthwaite Fell, on the north bank of Charlesground Gill, 880m south east of High Corney

A Scheduled Monument in Waberthwaite, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.3218 / 54°19'18"N

Longitude: -3.3359 / 3°20'9"W

OS Eastings: 313206.544969

OS Northings: 492626.673281

OS Grid: SD132926

Mapcode National: GBR 5L4G.LJ

Mapcode Global: WH71G.QMPP

Entry Name: Prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system on Waberthwaite Fell, on the north bank of Charlesground Gill, 880m south east of High Corney

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017178

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32837

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Waberthwaite

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Corney St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes a small prehistoric cairnfield and associated field
system located on a gently sloping terrace on Waberthwaite Fell, 880m south
east of High Corney. It represents evidence for the prehistoric exploitation
of this landscape and includes a group of 30 oval shaped clearance cairns
measuring between 1.2m to 7.4m long by 1.2m to 6.9m wide and up to 0.55m high.
Some of these cairns form alignments which are interpreted as representing the
line of old field boundaries in which sporadic patches of stone clearance were
piled against fences or hedges. One of the cairn alignments forms the
western boundary of the cairnfield, while two other parallel alignments of
cairns functioned as prehistoric field boundaries and run downslope
approximately 12m apart. The field between these two boundaries has been
deliberately cleared of surface stone in order to facilitate unhindered use of
the plough during agricultural cultivation.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

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 on land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the
prehistoric period.
The prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system on Waberthwaite Fell,
880m south east of High Corney survives well and forms part of a well
preserved prehistoric landscape extending along the fellsides of south west
Cumbria. In conjunction with a wide range of other prehistoric remains in the
vicinity, the monument represents evidence of long term management and
exploitation of this area in prehistoric times.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Quartermaine, J, Charlesground Gill Survey Catalogue, (1985)
Quartermaine, J, Charlesground Gill Survey Catalogue, (1985)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 20-6

Source: Historic England

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