Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Prehistoric round cairn on Whitfell

A Scheduled Monument in Ulpha, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.3255 / 54°19'31"N

Longitude: -3.2948 / 3°17'41"W

OS Eastings: 315885.420572

OS Northings: 492981.90867

OS Grid: SD158929

Mapcode National: GBR 5LFF.G6

Mapcode Global: WH71H.CJ8W

Entry Name: Prehistoric round cairn on Whitfell

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017182

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32842

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Ulpha

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Waberthwaite St John

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a prehistoric round cairn located on the summit of
Whitfell. It consists of a circular mound of stones 25m in diameter and up to
2m high which is kerbed along its western edge. On the cairn's highest point a
modern cairn and shelter have been constructed by fellwalkers from the stones
which originally formed part of the prehistoric cairn.

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

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 be placed within the mound in stone-lined
compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch.
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 equivalent 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 early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of
their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of protection.

Despite disturbance to the monument's summit by construction of a modern cairn
and shelter, the prehistoric round cairn on Whitfell survives well. It will
contain undisturbed archaeological deposits within the mound and upon the old
landsurface beneath.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Wainwright, A, The Outlying Fells of Lakeland, (1974), 156-61

Source: Historic England

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