Ancient Monuments

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Cairn 550m south of Howden Reservoir Dam wall

A Scheduled Monument in Hope Woodlands, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.4235 / 53°25'24"N

Longitude: -1.7468 / 1°44'48"W

OS Eastings: 416920

OS Northings: 391890.759

OS Grid: SK169918

Mapcode National: GBR JX7V.MG

Mapcode Global: WHCC7.46FS

Entry Name: Cairn 550m south of Howden Reservoir Dam wall

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017663

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29814

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Hope Woodlands

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Bamford and Derwent St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes a stone cairn presently standing close to the high water
mark of the Derwent Reservoir in North Derbyshire: the cairn is submerged when
the reservoir is full. The location of the cairn, which also includes human
burial remains, is unusual in being situated on the valley floor, rather than
occupying the relatively high ground of the surrounding hills. The cairn
stands at a confluence of two watercourses in a relatively broad area of the
Derwent Valley.
The cairn of medium and small stones measures 24m by 18m and stands 0.7m high.
Within the cairn of stones there is evidence for a cist and central pit within
a relatively complex internal arrangement. Several artefacts have been
recovered from the cairn and its immediate surroundings, including cremated
bone, numerous worked flint and chert lithics, a bronze object (possibly a
knife) and a rubbing stone. There is also a low platform attached to the
south-south west edge of the cairn which may have been a second cairn. There
is evidence of stone robbing from the cairn, probably for wall building.
The cairn is likely to date to the Bronze Age and, as found with similar
monuments elsewhere, may have originally been a clearance cairn before
burials were added. The presence of human burial remains indicates that the
cairn was likely to have become important to the Bronze Age farmers as an
ancestral monument. The unusual location of the cairn on the valley floor
places the monument as one of a small but potentially important group of
cairns in the Peak District.

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

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.

Funerary cairns such as the cairn 550m south of Howden Reservoir Dam wall are
dated to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They are a relatively common feature
in the uplands of Britain and are the stone equivalents of the earthen barrows
of the lowlands. Their considerable variation and longevity as a monument type
provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social
organisation amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly
representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving
examples are considered worthy of protection.
The cairn 550m south of Howden Reservoir Dam wall has an unusual valley floor
location. The cairn retains significant detail of its original form. It is one
of a small group of cairns in the valleys of the Peak District.

Source: Historic England


Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
No. 4602; 8215, Derbyshire County Council SMR,

Source: Historic England

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