Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield and ring cairn on Danby Rigg, 330m south west of Danby Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Danby, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4531 / 54°27'10"N

Longitude: -0.8983 / 0°53'53"W

OS Eastings: 471529.454323

OS Northings: 506965.407818

OS Grid: NZ715069

Mapcode National: GBR QJ5Y.BG

Mapcode Global: WHF8W.5BJK

Entry Name: Cairnfield and ring cairn on Danby Rigg, 330m south west of Danby Castle

Scheduled Date: 5 January 1971

Last Amended: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018843

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32613

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Danby

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Danby with Castleton and Commondale

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a group of stone
clearance cairns and an associated ring cairn at the north eastern end of
Danby Rigg, centred 330m to the south west of Danby Castle. It is a detached
part of a much larger cairnfield and field system on Danby Rigg, separated
from the rest by an improved field enclosed by drystone walls.
The remains on Danby Rigg have long been recognised as an extensive and well-
preserved Bronze Age landscape and has been investigated on a number of
occasions. The whole rigg retains over 800 identified clearance cairns along
with a wide range of other features. In the cairnfield, to the north east of
the improved field, at least 50 cairns can be identified. These are typically
irregular mounds 2m-3m in diameter and up to 0.5m high, the piles of stones
being partly buried in peat. On the 1928 Ordnance Survey map 28 of these
cairns are marked. Centred about 10m from a gate through the field wall on
the south western side of the monument, there are the low earthworks of a
small ring cairn 8m in diameter.

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

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 occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without
excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC),
although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance
which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze
Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size,
content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the
development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the
prehistoric period.

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a low circular bank
of stone up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may
be kerbed on the inside and/or on the outside with small upright boulders and,
where excavated, the cairns have been shown to enclose pits containing
burials, charcoal and pottery. Ring cairns are interpreted as Early to Middle
Bronze Age ritual monuments. They are a relatively rare class of monument
exhibiting considerable variation in form.
The ring cairn and surrounding group of clearance cairns are part of a much
larger group of cairns and other Bronze Age monuments on Danby Rigg. The
cairns are well-preserved and will retain information about the local
prehistoric environment and other archaeological information.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Harding, A F, Ostoja-Zagorski, J, 'Archaeological Journal' in Prehistoric and Early Medieval Activity on Danby Rigg, N Yorks, , Vol. 151, (1994), 73-82
Record no 52585.01, N York Moors SMR, Farm Scheme Archaeological Management Survey: Fryup, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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