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Triple cairn, cairnfield and bole sites extending south westwards from Raven Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Beeley, Derbyshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.1979 / 53°11'52"N

Longitude: -1.5819 / 1°34'54"W

OS Eastings: 428027.145807

OS Northings: 366842.242895

OS Grid: SK280668

Mapcode National: GBR 583.GW1

Mapcode Global: WHCD8.NWX8

Entry Name: Triple cairn, cairnfield and bole sites extending south westwards from Raven Tor

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019479

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31275

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Beeley

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Beeley St Anne

Church of England Diocese: Derby

Details

The monument includes the remains of a prehistoric triple funerary cairn
complex with adjacent cairnfield and several medieval lead smelting sites,
often referred to as boles, distributed along the edge of an escarpment.

This area of complex archaeology occupies the edge of a gritstone escarpment
facing to the west. Standing close to the gritstone edge is an arrangement of
three abutting funerary cairns with stone kerbs, arranged as a linear feature
and oriented roughly east-west. The cairns have been previously excavated and
reconstructed leaving exposed stone on the surface. The three cairns appear
to have been originally constructed one after the other with the easternmost
structure being the earliest. They measure approximately 7m by 7.5m, 6m by
8m and 7.5m by 8m respectively, east to west. Each cairn has a carefully
constructed arrangement of upright kerb stones. The central and western
cairns both contain the remains of stone cists which originally enclosed
burials. The excavation of the cairns revealed cremated bone and fragments of
collared and cordoned urns dating the features to the second millennium BC.

Surrounding the triple cairn are at least ten or more smaller cairns, some of
which appear undisturbed. They cluster to the south of the triple cairn with
further examples to the north east and south west. The cairns are also
located close to the escarpment edge and are likely to be funerary in function
given their prominent location and proximity to the triple cairn.
Alternatively they could be the remains of prehistoric agricultural clearance
or have held a dual function. The cairns are of various sizes but typically
between 2m and 5m in diameter. Two of the cairns are sub-rectangular in
plan.

The escarpment edge has also been used at a later date for lead smelting and
the remains of several boles (lead smelting sites) survive along the edge to
the north east of the triple cairn. They are distributed over approximately
300m of the edge at about 8m intervals. They comprise a series of
sub-circular stone structures, situated to take advantage of the prevailing
wind from the west and south west. One of the boles has been constructed in
the western edge of the triple cairn complex, comprising a small hearth still
containing pieces of burnt limestone and lead ore. The boles date from the
medieval period and some may be as early as 11th or 12th century.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the
River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open
moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going
archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best
recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early
human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors.
On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over
extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the
Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the
most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the
largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England
as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and
other ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life
in the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible
relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this
provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time.
A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity
in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections,
will be identified as nationally important.

Round cairn cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
groups of cairns in close proximity to each other and take the form of stone
mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time, often many centuries. They may be associated
with Bronze Age clearance cairns - heaps of stones cleared from the adjacent
ground surface to improve its quality for agriculture. It may be impossible
without excavation to distinguish between some burial and clearance cairns.
Round cairn cemeteries are found throughout most of upland Britain. Often
occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern
landscape, whilst their diversity and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation
amongst prehistoric communities.

Medieval lead smelters include a range of features known from field or
documentary evidence. The most common type is the bole or bolehill, a
windblown smelting fire located on an exposed hilltop or crest. This
consisted of a rectangular or circular stone structure, open on one side,
within which a large fire was constructed using large blocks of wood at the
base and smaller wood interleaved with ore above. Boles used the wind to
provide draught and normally faced south west. The molten lead was run out by
channels on the upwind side into a casting pit or area. The slag produced by
the bole retained considerable quantities of lead. Some of this could be
extracted by crushing and washing the slag and the remainder could be
recovered by resmelting in a smaller enclosed hearth (the slag hearth or
`blackwork oven') using charcoal fuel and an artificial air blast. The
resulting black glassy slag is distinct from the grey or yellow slag produced
by the bole itself.

The bole and associated features were in use from at least the 12th to the
late 16th centuries as the main lead smelting technology, differing markedly
from the smelting technology of other metals. Boles are found on exposed
sites in and around the Pennine lead mining fields. The majority are known
from place-name evidence only and sites containing slag, contaminated ground
or earthwork features are very rare. All sites with informative slag, intact
tips or visible structural or earthwork features are considered to merit
protection.

The remains of the cairn cemetery and lead bole sites extending south
westwards from Raven Tor survive well and provide an insight into Bronze Age
cermonial practices on the East Moors of the Peak District and into the later
reuse of the moorlands for early industrial processes.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 167-8
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 167-8
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 167-8
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 167-8
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 167-8
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 167-8
Radley, J, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in A triple cairn and a rectangular cairn on Beeley Moor, (1969), 3-17
Radley, J, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in A triple cairn and a rectangular cairn on Beeley Moor, (1969), 3-17
Other
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
Step 4 report on lead smelting sites, English Heritage, Beeley Moor Boles, Beeley, Step4 report DERBS.,

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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