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Cairnfield, field system and ring cairn 650m east of Moorside Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Baslow and Bubnell, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2488 / 53°14'55"N

Longitude: -1.5784 / 1°34'42"W

OS Eastings: 428226.127227

OS Northings: 372500.23684

OS Grid: SK282725

Mapcode National: GBR KZFW.23

Mapcode Global: WHCD2.QLKS

Entry Name: Cairnfield, field system and ring cairn 650m east of Moorside Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019509

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31282

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Baslow and Bubnell

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Baslow St Anne

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes a prehistoric cairnfield together with linear field
banks of clearance debris and a small ring cairn.

The complex occupies gently sloping ground close to a west-facing escarpment.
It comprises a large cairnfield containing linear banks of clearance debris
identifying former field plots. In addition, there is a small sub-circular
ring cairn at the western edge of the complex. There are approximately 75
cairns within the area of protection, ranging from between 1m to 6m in
diameter. Some of the larger cairns have been disturbed at their centres,
although many examples remain intact. The cairns are distributed so as to
suggest that they were constructed from the clearance of adjacent field plots.
In addition, there are linear banks of turf and stone also defining sub-
rectangular plots within the complex, especially at the northern end of the
field system. Such were formed by debris from the fields being placed against
enclosure hedges or fences. Close to the western edge of the complex, near to
the escarpment edge, is a small ring cairn comprising a low sub-circular bank
of stones and turf. It measures approximately 10.5m by 8m internally.

The cairnfield, linear field banks and ring cairn are indicative of settlement
and ceremonial use of the moorlands during the Bronze Age.

Excluded from the scheduling are underground service pipes and the infilled
material above, but the ground beneath is included.

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 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.

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one
another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone
gathered from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture.
However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without
excavation it is impossible to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period although the
majority of examples date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable
longevity and variation in the size, content and associations of cairnfields
provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural
practices. They also provide information on the diversity of beliefs and
social organisation during the prehistoric period.

Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) and
later. They comprise a discrete block of fields oriented in roughly the same
direction with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at
right-angles to one another. The field boundaries can take various forms and
follow straight or sinuous courses. The development of field systems is seen
as a response to the competition for land which began during the later
prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for
crop production and provide important information about developments in
agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of
social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries.

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of
stones. The bank may be kerbed on the inside and sometimes on the outside as
well. They are found mainly in upland areas of England and sometimes occur in
pairs or small groups. Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries.
Ring cairns date from the Early or Middle Bronze Age. 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. As a
relatively rare class of monument, all positively-identified examples are
considered worthy of protection.

The cairnfield, field system and ring cairn, 650m east of Moorside Farm, are
particularly important as a complex of associated and contemporary monument
types surviving in good condition and in close proximity to each other.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 59-61
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 59-61
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 52-3
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 52-3
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 52-3
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 52-3

Source: Historic England

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