Ancient Monuments

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Round cairn cemetery on Levey Bog, 880m north east of Hopehead

A Scheduled Monument in Otterburn, Northumberland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.272 / 55°16'19"N

Longitude: -2.1609 / 2°9'39"W

OS Eastings: 389875.287343

OS Northings: 597545.254046

OS Grid: NY898975

Mapcode National: GBR F7BG.ZZ

Mapcode Global: WHB0S.SR69

Entry Name: Round cairn cemetery on Levey Bog, 880m north east of Hopehead

Scheduled Date: 3 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018942

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32739

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Otterburn

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Otterburn St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

The monument includes the remains of a round cairn cemetery of Bronze Age
date, situated on the crest of a north west facing slope overlooking the Levey
Bog Sike. The cemetery is a prominent feature viewed from the west, where its
linear arrangement breaks the skyline. The cemetery is visible as a compact
group of at least 20 circular cairns of stone and earth construction arranged
along a slight ridge. The round cairns range in size from 3m to 5m in diameter
and stand to a maximum height of 0.5m. Some of the cairns have retaining kerbs
of upright orthostatic stones around their periphery. The most westerly of the
group of cairns has a smaller cairn attached to its south east side. Some of
the cairns have hollows at the centres, interpreted as the remains of
antiquarian or other recent disturbance.

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

Round cairn cemeteries date to the Bronze Age. They comprise groups of cairns
sited in close proximity to one another and take the form of stone mounds
constructed to cover single or multiple burials. Contemporary or later `flat'
graves may lie between individual cairns. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time and they can exhibit considerable diversity of
burial rite, plan and form. Occasionally they are associated with earlier long
cairns. They may also be associated with clearance cairns - heaps of stones
cleared from the adjacent ground surface to improve its quality for
agricultural activities; these were also being constructed during the Bronze
Age, although some examples are of later date. It may be impossible without
excavation to distinguish between some burial and clearance cairns. Round
cairn cemeteries occur throughout most of upland Britain; their distribution
pattern complements that of contemporary lowland earthen round barrows. Often
occupying prominent locations they are a major historic element in the modern
landscape. Their diversity and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of preservation.

Despite some evidence of antiquarian excavation, the round cairn cemetery on
Levey Bog, 880m north of Hopehead, is well preserved and retains significant
archaeological deposits. It is a good example of its type and contains
evidence of both funerary and clearance cairns. This monument will contribute
to our knowledge and understanding of Bronze Age ritual and funerary practice.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
The Archaeology Practice, , Recommendations for an Archaeological Management Plan, (1998), 110-111
Other
Gates T M, TMG 17473/75-7, (1996)

Source: Historic England

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