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Monks Graves prehistoric cairn cemetery, cairnfields, field system, funerary cairns and a ring cairn on Stockdale Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Ennerdale and Kinniside, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.4745 / 54°28'28"N

Longitude: -3.3938 / 3°23'37"W

OS Eastings: 309778.748299

OS Northings: 509691.989313

OS Grid: NY097096

Mapcode National: GBR 4JRP.1S

Mapcode Global: WH70N.VS3M

Entry Name: Monks Graves prehistoric cairn cemetery, cairnfields, field system, funerary cairns and a ring cairn on Stockdale Moor

Scheduled Date: 2 December 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018504

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27827

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Ennerdale and Kinniside

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Details

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Monks Graves
prehistoric cairn cemetery, a field system, four stone clearance cairnfields,
and other funerary monuments scattered amongst the cairnfields, including five
funerary cairns and a ring cairn. It is located on Stockdale Moor, an
expansive area of undulating unenclosed moorland between the River Bleng and
Worm Gill, and represents evidence for the prehistoric exploitation of this
landscape.
Monks Graves prehistoric cairn cemetery is centred at approximately NY09970970
and consists of 18 funerary round cairns measuring a maximum of 7.7m by 5.3m
and up to 0.5m high, and two ring cairns up to 10m in diameter and 0.4m high.
The cairn cemetery lies within a stone clearance cairnfield consisting of
upwards of 40 cairns and there is some surface evidence to suggest that a
small number of clearance cairns may have been robbed to provide stone for
funerary cairns, thus implying that the clearance cairns predate the funerary
monuments.
The cairn cemetery and associated cairnfield lie within a field system
consisting of two predominantly parallel stone banks 300m and 370m long and
180m-200m apart. A third stone bank, more fragmentary in construction and
approximately 830m long, lies to the north and is considered to represent
the line of a field boundary in which sporadic lengths of stone clearance were
piled against a feature such as a fence or hedge which does not now survive as
surface evidence. This field boundary is aligned north east-south west.
Three other small clearance cairnfields, each containing about 20 cairns, lie
in the vicinity of Monks Graves; one is located some 500m north west of Monks
Graves and is centred at approximately NY09641015, a second is located some
330m WNW of Monks Graves and is centred at approximately NY09670985, and a
third is located some 530m WSW of Monks Graves and is centred at approximately
NY09520946. Funerary monuments are found in each of these cairnfields; the
northern one contains a ring cairn, the central one contains a round funerary
cairn, and the southern one contains two round funerary cairns. A further two
round funerary cairns are located on top of a low ridge between Caw Gill and
Cawfell Beck south west of Monks Graves at NY09350926 and NY09380929.
The prehistoric remains on Stockdale Moor reflect occupation of the landscape
over a long period. The funerary round cairns both within Monks Graves
cemetery and scattered amongst the cairnfields are considered from comparison
with dated examples elsewhere to be dated approximately to the second
millenium BC, whilst one of the ring cairns is paralleled in form with an
excavated example from Peebleshire which contained four cremations beneath a
central mound and had a carbon date of 1490+-90 bc. This is in accord with
other known dates for ring cairns which generally ascribe them to the Bronze
Age. Agricultural use of the moor is attested by the presence of the clearance
cairns which are smaller and more erratically defined than the funerary
monuments and illustrate contrasting uses of the moor during the prehistoric
period. Although it is conceivable that the cairn cemetery was in intermittent
use at the same time that the surrounding land was used for agriculture,
particularly as there is a slight merging of clearance and funerary cairns
within Monks Graves, it is perhaps more credible to surmise that the two
elements were constructed in different phases, as indeed is suggested in a
small number of instances where the surface remains have indicated that
clearance cairns have been robbed to provide material for nearby funerary
cairns.

MAP EXTRACT
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 Cumbrian uplands comprise large areas of remote mountainous terrain, much
of which is largely open fellside. As a result of archaeological surveys
between 1980 and 1990 within the Lake District National Park, these fells have
become one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the open fells
there is sufficient well preserved and understood evidence over extensive
areas for human exploitation of these uplands from the Neolithic to the post-
medieval period. On the enclosed land and within forestry the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but they survive sufficiently well to show that human
activity extended beyond the confines of the open fells. Bronze Age activity
accounts for the most extensive use of the area, and evidence for it includes
some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairn fields in
England, as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles
and other ceremonial remains. Taken together, their remains can provide a
detailed insight into life in the later prehistoric period. Of additional
importance is the well-preserved and often visible relationship between the
remains of earlier and later periods, since this provides an understanding of
changes in land use through time. Because of their rarity in a national
context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, most
prehistoric monuments on the Lake District fells will be identified as
nationally important.

Monks Graves prehistoric cairn cemetery, cairnfields, field system, funerary
cairns and ring cairns survive well and form part of a large area of
well-preserved prehistoric settlements, cairnfields and field systems which
extend over Town Bank and Stockdale Moor. The monument contains a complex and
diverse group of prehistoric monument classes and together these represent
evidence of long term management and exploitation of this area in prehistoric
times. It will contribute greatly to any further study of prehistoric
settlement patterns within the Lake District.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 1-9
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 1-9
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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