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Cowell Flat prehistoric field system, 350m south east of Mortimer House

A Scheduled Monument in Bradfield, Sheffield

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Latitude: 53.4439 / 53°26'37"N

Longitude: -1.6254 / 1°37'31"W

OS Eastings: 424979.844139

OS Northings: 394187.660312

OS Grid: SK249941

Mapcode National: GBR KX2M.X5

Mapcode Global: WHCC3.0P9Q

Entry Name: Cowell Flat prehistoric field system, 350m south east of Mortimer House

Scheduled Date: 25 February 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017833

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29820

County: Sheffield

Civil Parish: Bradfield

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Bradfield St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield


The monument includes linear clearance banks and cairns which together form a
system of relict fields and enclosures. The main field system measures
approximately 300m by 250m along a north west to south east axis. Beyond the
main field system are a few isolated cairns, lynchets and small sections of
turf walls.
The irregular field banks of stone debris and turf show that the land was
enclosed into at least five separate field enclosures. The field banks survive
well, some retaining a height of approximately 1m. Those at the extreme
southern end of the field system appear to be largely covered with an
accumulation of peat and turf and some buried field banks may survive further
to the south of the visible remains. Many of the field banks, especially those
in the south eastern half of the site, are constructed from parallel
orthostats (upright boulders) with an infill of turf and clearance debris and
are about 1.2m in width. Field banks in the north west part of the site are
generally lower (about 0.5m) and appear to be a less structured arrangement
of cleared stones and turf. The two distinct types of construction indicate
that the site may have considerable chronological depth.
One of the enclosures is sub-circular, measuring approximately 50m in
diameter, and lies close to the centre of the field system. Heather burning
has revealed approximately 4m of a stone-built alignment within this
enclosure and it appears to have been levelled with a turf and stone revetment
to the south side. The enclosure and structure within are likely to be the
remains of a domestic yard area and dwelling.
Within the field enclosures and in the immediate surrounding area are at least
18 cairns of various sizes, ranging from about 2m to 7m in diameter. Some
of the cairns have been disturbed, but many remain intact. In addition some
small and elongated cairns are located within the field banks. Most of the
cairns are associated with stone clearance of the surrounding landscape. Of
the larger cairns, one is situated close to the circular, central, enclosure
and measures 7m by 6m, surviving to about 0.9m high. It has been disturbed
at the centre, but much of the outer structure survives. The relatively large
size of the cairn indicates that it may have been used for funerary purposes.
Two other cairns may also have held similar functions: one is about 6m
diameter, 0.6m high, located in the most northerly field enclosure and the
other is situated close to the southern edge of the complex, measuring 8m by
7m and about 0.6m high.
The complex has been interpreted as a settlement and related field system of
the Bronze Age, although certain areas of the complex may have been occupied
during the Romano-British period. Several similar sites are found on the
eastern gritstone moors of the Peak District, although few are located in
South Yorkshire. The variation in the types of field enclosures indicate that
the settlement either continued in use for a considerable period of time,
or that the site has experienced several phases of occupation.
All modern walls, gates and fences are excluded from the scheduling, but the
ground below is included.

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.

Cowell Flat prehistoric field system survives well with well-defined field
banks and cairns; other features will survive below ground. The two
contrasting types of construction indicate that the monument holds important
information about the longevity of such sites and their possible re-occupation
over several phases of settlement.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986)
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983)

Source: Historic England

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