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Doll Tor stone circle and cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Birchover, Derbyshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.1625 / 53°9'44"N

Longitude: -1.645 / 1°38'41"W

OS Eastings: 423832.154224

OS Northings: 362873.036683

OS Grid: SK238628

Mapcode National: GBR 58D.QX9

Mapcode Global: WHCDF.PRWY

Entry Name: Doll Tor stone circle and cairn

Scheduled Date: 20 September 1956

Last Amended: 29 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017664

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29815

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Birchover

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Stanton-in-Peak Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Derby

Details

The monument includes Doll Tor stone circle and an adjacent stone cairn. It is
located less than 1km north of the village of Birchover and stands on gently
shelving ground overlooking the Ivy Bar Brook and Harthill Moor to the west.
To the immediate east of the circle are the remains of a sandstone quarry. The
site stands on the eastern Millstone Grit fringes of the Peak District,
overlooking the edge of the limestone plateau.
The circle of stones is relatively small, having a diameter of 6m by 4.5m.
There are now six standing stones arranged in a rough circle on the rim
of a slightly raised kerbed area. A shallow ditch surrounds the monument
which may be either prehistoric or the result of later excavation, and the
whole arrangement stands on a platform cut into the hillslope with a slight
revetment to the west. The land is uncleared and there are several large
upright boulders within 10m of the circle, which could have been associated
with the monument. There is no evidence that the circle of stones was set into
an embankment - the more usual form in the Peak District - and it is possible
that the circle once contained an internal mound and is, thus, the remains of
a kerbed cairn.
To the north east the remains of a complex cairn of approximately 5.5m
diameter abutts the stone circle. The cairn has been robbed, probably for
walling stone, since little now stands above ground level. Within the central
area of the cairn is an arrangement of small vertically placed stones defining
an area 1.8m by 1.3m. This could have been intended as an open area, or part
of a cist enclosing human burial remains. There is also evidence that
additional cairns were added to the east and south east sides of the main
cairn. The relationship between the cairn and the circle shows that the circle
was the primary monument of the two.
The circle and cairn have been partially excavated: during the 19th century
various artefacts were recovered from the monument including urns, cups and
calcined human remains. During the first half of the present century the
monument was again excavated and bone, bronze and flint implements and pottery
were recovered, as well as further evidence of calcined human remains.
The monument is dated to the Bronze Age, with the first components possibly
constructed during the earlier part of this period. It is interpreted
as a place of burial, ritual and possibly an area reserved for seasonal
celebrations. The placing of the later cairn or cairns shows that the site was
used for a protracted period of time.
All walls, fences and posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 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.

Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of
upright or recumbent stones. They are found throughout England although they
are concentrated in western areas, a distribution which may reflect present
survival rather than an original pattern. Where excavated they have been
found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2400-1000
BC). It is clear that they had considerable ritual importance for the
societies that used them. In many instances, excavation has indicated that
they provided a focus for burials and the rituals which accompanied the
interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function
with stones being aligned to solar or lunar events. As a rare monument type,
which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all
surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation.
Burial cairns, such as the example adjacent to the stone circle, are also of
Bronze Age date and are the upland equivalents of the earthen barrows of the
lowlands. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument
type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and the social
organisation of prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative
of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.
Although disturbed by excavations, Doll Tor stone circle still holds much
potential for the discovery of undisturbed archaeological deposits.
Information on the relationship between the stone circle and cairn will be
preserved.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, The 1994 Restoration of the Doll Tor Stone Circle, (1994)
Symonds, J, Preliminary Assessment of the Damage at Doll Tor, (1994)
Symonds, J, Preliminary Assessment of the Damage at Doll Tor, (1994)
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 79-82
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 79-82

Source: Historic England

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