Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Ring cairn on Goldsborough, Cotherstone Moor, 840m south of Pitcher House

A Scheduled Monument in Cotherstone, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5544 / 54°33'15"N

Longitude: -2.0714 / 2°4'16"W

OS Eastings: 395479.755159

OS Northings: 517690.251985

OS Grid: NY954176

Mapcode National: GBR FHZS.B4

Mapcode Global: WHB4B.4SWC

Entry Name: Ring cairn on Goldsborough, Cotherstone Moor, 840m south of Pitcher House

Scheduled Date: 16 April 1999

Last Amended: 3 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019155

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31792

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Cotherstone

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes a ring cairn on Goldsborough, Cotherstone Moor. The ring
cairn consists of a subcircular bank 11m in diameter, up to 0.3m high and
typically 2m wide. The bank is composed of earth and stone, is grass covered,
and is terraced into a natural bank to the west.

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.

The ring cairn 840m south of Pitcher House survives well and it is one several
prehistoric features in the Goldsborough area. It will therefore contribute to
the study of the prehistory of the area.

Source: Historic England


Ring cairn, Laurie, T, Ring cairn on Goldsborough Cotherstone Moor, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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