Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield, linear clearance and ring cairn 720m north west of Moor Edge Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Dore and Totley, Sheffield

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Latitude: 53.3076 / 53°18'27"N

Longitude: -1.5675 / 1°34'3"W

OS Eastings: 428914.204785

OS Northings: 379049.647674

OS Grid: SK289790

Mapcode National: GBR KZH6.F1

Mapcode Global: WHCCW.W4Q4

Entry Name: Cairnfield, linear clearance and ring cairn 720m north west of Moor Edge Farm

Scheduled Date: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019904

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31290

County: Sheffield

Electoral Ward/Division: Dore and Totley

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Dronfield St John Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes a prehistoric cairnfield together with linear clearance
features and a ring cairn providing evidence for Bronze Age settlement and
ceremonial activity.

The complex of features occupies the top of Brown Edge, a ridge in open
moorland. It comprises a compact cairnfield which includes fragments of linear
banks of clearance debris. In addition, there is a small sub-circular ring
cairn at the south western edge of the complex. There are approximately 24 to
28 cairns within the protected area, ranging from between 1m to 6.5m in
diameter. Some of the cairns are ovoid in plan indicating that they were once
part of linear features, such as fences or hedge-lines. In addition to the
cairns, there are two fragments of linear banks of turf and stone indicating
that at least part of the complex was divided into field plots. The clearance
banks were formed by debris from the fields being placed against enclosure
hedges or fences. At the south western edge of the complex is a ring cairn
comprising a low sub-circular bank of stones and turf. It measures
approximately 7.5m by 6m internally with the bank being approximately 3m wide.
The remains of a small oval cairn lie at the centre of the ring cairn.

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.

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
and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
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.

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, linear clearance and ring cairn 720m north west of Moor Edge
Farm, are particularly important as a complex of associated and contemporary
monument types surviving in good condition and in close proximity to each
other. They provide an insight into Bronze Age land use on these moors.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 52-3
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 52-3
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 40-1
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 40-1
Radley, J, 'Archaeological Journal' in A Bronze. Age Ring-Work On Totley Moor And (others) In The Pennines, , Vol. 123, (1966), 1-26

Source: Historic England

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