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Carved rocks, cairnfield and rubble banks on the terrace south of Scale Knoll Allotment, immediately east of Black Hill Gate, Barningham Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Hope, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.4702 / 54°28'12"N

Longitude: -1.9261 / 1°55'33"W

OS Eastings: 404887.250134

OS Northings: 508319.164176

OS Grid: NZ048083

Mapcode National: GBR GJZR.TB

Mapcode Global: WHB4S.DW1Y

Entry Name: Carved rocks, cairnfield and rubble banks on the terrace south of Scale Knoll Allotment, immediately east of Black Hill Gate, Barningham Moor

Scheduled Date: 24 November 1977

Last Amended: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017439

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30477

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Hope

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Barningham St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes 19 carved rocks, a cairnfield, seven individual cairns,
several stretches of rubble bank, and an iron smelting site. It is situated on
Barningham Moor, on a hillside terrace, and on the slope below the terrace. It
is south of the modern sheep-grazing enclosure known as Scale Knoll Allotment.
The carved rocks vary in size and complexity of carving. They range from
simple designs, consisting of a few cups, to more complex designs of cups and
grooves covering the entire surface of the rock. Some of the carved rocks were
later incorporated into short stretches of rubble bank, and may have been
moved short distances from there original location. Further examples which are
in situ however are still located nearby. Some of the carved rocks are almost
hidden by turf; others are in erosion patches and more exposed.
The cairnfield is at the eastern end of the monument, on the slope leading
down from the terrace, between two small streams. The cairns in the cairnfield
are in the range of 3m-5m diameter. Some stones have been removed from the
cairns for later walling.
The seven individual cairns are mostly around the edges of the terrace. They
are up to 7m in diameter and vary considerably in their state of preservation,
from cairns which have suffered from stone-robbing to others which appear
undisturbed. The individual cairns are mostly larger, in more prominent
positions, and better preserved than the cairns in the cairnfield. The rubble
banks are distributed throughout the area. They are mostly 2m-3m wide and up
to 0.4m high. They vary from short lengths, of the type often associated with
cairnfields, to much longer stretches which may be field boundaries. In one
area, the rubble banks form an incomplete enclosure, which incorporates three
carved rocks and one cairn. Other carved rocks and cairns are nearby.
The iron smelting site consists of an area of the terrace where slag is found
in upcast from rabbit holes. This is likely to represent a later use of the
site. Primitive iron smelting sites can date from the Iron Age to the end of
the medieval period (c.500 BC-1500 AD). The evidence for early iron smelting
often consists of a heap of iron slag. Medieval iron smelting sites are
frequently found near streams and are known as bloomeries. In bloomeries, iron
ore was fired to about 1200 degrees Centigrade, using charcoal as fuel. This
caused a chemical reaction, producing a mass of iron called a bloom. This was
then hammered to remove any residual slag. Prehistorice iron smelting sites
are rare, therefore the process involved is less well known. Some prehistoric
sites have been found associated with settlements. It is difficult to date
early iron smelting sites by examination of their slag.

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

Prehistoric rock art is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of upland
Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland,
Durham and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of decoration is the
`cup and ring' marking where expanses of small cup-like hollows are pecked
into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more
`rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the `rings' may
also exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Pecked lines or grooves can
also exist in isolation from cup and ring decoration. Other shapes and
patterns also occur, but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in
small groups, or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the
Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide one of our
most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the
designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious
Frequently they are found close to contemporary burial monuments and the
symbols are also found on portable stones placed directly next to burials or
incorporated in burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock-art
have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection
of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed
in activities such as quarrying. All positively identified prehistoric rock
art sites exhibiting a significant group of designs will normally 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 size, content
and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the
development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the
prehistoric period.
The carved rocks, cairnfield, and rubble banks on the terrace to the south of
Scale Knoll Allotment, form part of a wider group of carved rocks and other
archaeological remains of prehistoric date on Barningham Moor. The carvings on
the rocks survive well and display a wide range of motifs. They will
contribute to our understanding of prehistoric rock art in England. Although
some of the cairns have been disturbed by stone- robbing, they retain evidence
of their form and location. They will also retain evidence of their
relationship with the carved rocks and the rubble banks which are therefore
also considered to be nationally important. The rubble banks will also
preserve evidence of the later agricultural use of burial sites. The early
iron-smelting site provides important evidence of early industry and will
therefore contribute to studies of the early iron industry in England.
The features on this terrace and the slope below it form an important part of
the prehistoric landscape of Barningham Moor, which contains numerous other
prehistoric remains such as carved rocks, burial and settlement sites and
evidence for early agricultural practices. The site will therefore contribute
to studies of such prehistoric landscapes and land use change over time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28-30
Dating iron-smelting sites, Cranstone, David , (1997)
Flint scatter, Laurie, T, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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