Ancient Monuments

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Round cairn cemetery at High Greens 460m south east of Brecken Howe

A Scheduled Monument in Darncombe-cum-Langdale End, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3482 / 54°20'53"N

Longitude: -0.5982 / 0°35'53"W

OS Eastings: 491218.148107

OS Northings: 495646.989072

OS Grid: SE912956

Mapcode National: GBR SL85.91

Mapcode Global: WHGBJ.SYCZ

Entry Name: Round cairn cemetery at High Greens 460m south east of Brecken Howe

Scheduled Date: 11 October 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019446

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34531

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Darncombe-cum-Langdale End

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes a round cairn cemetery in Langdale Forest, situated on
level ground at the top of and overlooking the valley of Hipperley Beck to the
The cemetery has ten burial cairns, six of which survive as upstanding
features. Two cairns have been levelled by forestry ploughing, and a further
two have been severely damaged by forestry activities so that they are only
identifiable now as stony areas on the ground surface, although the burials
which would have been placed beneath all four of these cairns are expected to
survive as below ground features. The cemetery has a linear arrangement
running approximately north west to south east, curving to the east in the
centre. The cairns are arranged in two adjacent rows which are 10m-20m apart.
The south western row has four visible cairns, but originally had seven and
was approximately 150m long. The north eastern row has two visible cairns, but
originally had three and was approximately 50m long. The burials which would
have been placed in the area between the cairns are not visible, but will
survive below the ground surface as buried features.
The four upstanding cairns in the south western row each have a stony mound
which stands up to 0.5m high and is 5m-7m in diameter. The upstanding cairns
in the north eastern row have stony mounds which stand 0.4m and 0.6m high and
are 3m and 6m in diameter; the larger mound is more northerly and has a hollow
in the centre from partial excavation in the past. Formerly the cairns would
have been up to 10m in diameter, but they have been reduced in size by
forestry ploughing.
The cairn cemetery lies in an area where there are many other prehistoric
burial monuments as well as field systems and clearance cairns.

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 disturbance by forestry ploughing, the round cairn cemetery at High
Greens 460m south east of Brecken Howe has survived well. Significant
information about the construction of the upstanding cairns and the burials
placed beneath them will be preserved. Flat graves will survive in the area
between the cairns. Evidence for earlier land use and the contemporary
environment will also survive beneath the upstanding cairns. This is one of
only a very few cairn cemeteries on the North York Moors, and provides a
marked contrast to other Bronze Age burial monuments in this area which occur
either singly, in small clusters or in widely dispersed groupings. As such, it
will provide important insight into the development of ritual and funerary
practice during the Bronze Age. The association with other nearby burial
monuments as well as field systems and clearance cairns will also offer scope
for the study of the distribution of human activity across the landscape
during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. 87, (1993)
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. 87, (1993)
Title: Old Series Ordnance Survey 1:10560
Source Date: 1958

Source: Historic England

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