Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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High Snapes ring cairn, 670m north east of Spaunton Lodge

A Scheduled Monument in Hutton-le-Hole, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3268 / 54°19'36"N

Longitude: -0.9155 / 0°54'55"W

OS Eastings: 470630.743181

OS Northings: 492895.872517

OS Grid: SE706928

Mapcode National: GBR QL1D.LR

Mapcode Global: WHF9F.XH7W

Entry Name: High Snapes ring cairn, 670m north east of Spaunton Lodge

Scheduled Date: 10 April 1967

Last Amended: 3 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018978

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32657

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Hutton-le-Hole

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Lastingham St Mary

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric burial
monument known as a ring cairn. It is marked as an enclosure by the Ordnance
Survey and lies on Hutton Ridge, 670m north east of Spaunton Lodge.
The ring cairn is sited on a south facing hillside, approximately 60m west of
a break in slope above Loskey Beck. The ring cairn is formed by an earth and
stone bank 21m in diameter measured from centre to centre, with an external
diameter of 24m. The bank stands to 0.5m high and is spread to between 3m and
4m, but appears to have a mainly stone core 2m wide. In places, especially on
the west side, the outer face of the bank has a kerbing of large stone slabs
typically 0.5m by 0.5m, with most of the stones forming the bank being
smaller. On the south east side there is a 1m wide gap through the bank
flanked by stones aligned across the line of the bank. The interior of the
ring cairn is slightly undulating and includes a scatter of surface stone. The
ring cairn is sited on gently sloping ground and its interior appears to have
been slightly levelled up on the south side to accommodate this. On the north
side the ground level inside the cairn is the same as that externally whereas
on the south side it is up to 0.2m higher. Although there is no obvious ditch
visible around the ring cairn, a 3m margin has been included around the mound
to allow for its likely survival. This is because a number of other examples
on the North York Moors have been found, after excavation, to be encircled by
a ditch. These ditches can survive as infilled features, rather than as
earthworks, and will then retain additional archaeological deposits aiding our
understanding of the changing local environment.

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

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of
stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may
be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small
uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of
England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by fieldwork and ground
level survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial
photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples.
Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are
interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact
nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has
revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and
pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial
rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the
number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available
evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a
relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form,
all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological
deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

High Snapes ring cairn is a well preserved example of this rare form of
monument. It is one of a small number of ring cairns on the North York Moors.

Source: Historic England

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