Ancient Monuments

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Ring cairn 660m north east of Cook House

A Scheduled Monument in Fylingdales, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3966 / 54°23'47"N

Longitude: -0.5382 / 0°32'17"W

OS Eastings: 495004.709152

OS Northings: 501104.411848

OS Grid: NZ950011

Mapcode National: GBR SKPL.8Q

Mapcode Global: WHGBC.PRXD

Entry Name: Ring cairn 660m north east of Cook House

Scheduled Date: 15 November 1934

Last Amended: 9 April 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019690

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31370

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Fylingdales

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ravenscar St Hilda

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a ring cairn situated on the north western flank of
Howdale Moor. This is the easternmost extent of the sandstone, heather
covered moor characteristic of the North York Moors. Today the moor is little
used but archaeological evidence indicates that this has not always been the
case. The prehistoric period in particular saw extensive agricultural use of
the area. It was also used for burials and activities associated
with the carving of patterns on exposed rock. Remains of these activities
survive today.
The ring cairn survives as a circular earth and stone built bank 15m in
overall diameter. The bank is 2m wide and up to 0.5m high. The ring cairn lies
close to other prehistoric burial monuments of a similar date; these are the
subjects of separate schedulings.

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.

Ring cairns are unusual on the North York Moors and this ring cairn 660m north
east of Cook House is an important and well-preserved example. It will retain
significant information about its original construction, use and relationship
to other monuments on the moor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994), 1-38

Source: Historic England

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