Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairnfield, 580m ENE of Stanage House

A Scheduled Monument in Eyam, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.3009 / 53°18'3"N

Longitude: -1.6738 / 1°40'25"W

OS Eastings: 421837.320015

OS Northings: 378264.133935

OS Grid: SK218782

Mapcode National: GBR JZR8.FF

Mapcode Global: WHCCV.8969

Entry Name: Cairnfield, 580m ENE of Stanage House

Scheduled Date: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018734

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31239

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Eyam

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Eyam St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes a prehistoric cairnfield located on a bluff of moorland
on the western side of Eyam Moor. It is one of a group of similar monuments
providing evidence of extensive prehistoric agriculture and settlement on Eyam
The monument comprises a series of well-preserved cairns of medium and small
stones gathered in prehistoric times as the result of agricultural land
clearance. There are up to ten small cairns ranging from about 1.5m to 4m in
diameter, some of which are irregular in shape. Most of the cairns are
complete. The cairnfield stands on a bluff on otherwise sloping ground and
was probably a component of a larger cairnfield extending to the north and
north east. This cairnfield is separated from the other prehistoric remains on
the moor by areas of stony, steeply-sloping and potentially boggy ground.
The size and location of the cairns, together with indications of linear
clearance, indicates that they are the remains of an area of agricultural
settlement and land clearance dating to the Bronze Age.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 3 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.

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 occasions their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
Occasionally, some of the cairns were used for funerary purposes although
without excavation it is difficult to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3,400 BC)
although the majority date from the Bronze Age (2,000-700 BC). Cairnfields can
also retain information concerning the development of land use and
agricultural practices as well as the diveristy of beliefs and social
organisation during the prehistoric period.
The cairnfield 580m ENE of Stanage House is well-preserved and will contribute
to understanding of prehistoric settlements on Eyam Moor

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 70-1

Source: Historic England

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