Ancient Monuments

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Round cairn cemetery 1000m north west of Heddon Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Ilderton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4809 / 55°28'51"N

Longitude: -2.009 / 2°0'32"W

OS Eastings: 399528.378817

OS Northings: 620782.843655

OS Grid: NT995207

Mapcode National: GBR G5D2.V2

Mapcode Global: WH9ZX.3HLN

Entry Name: Round cairn cemetery 1000m north west of Heddon Hill

Scheduled Date: 20 July 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019920

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31749

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Ilderton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Ilderton St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a round cairn cemetery of Bronze Age
date, situated on a level terrace above the Lilburn Burn and overlooked by Dod
Hill to the west. The cemetery is visible as the remains of up to five round
cairns of stone and earth construction. The largest of the five round cairns,
which is of loose stone construction, is 23m in diameter and stands to a
maximum height of 1.3m on its western side; parts of the eastern half of the
cairn have been disturbed by stone removal. There are the remains of a stone
kerb around the south side of the cairn.
To the south and east of the main cairn there are the remains of a further
four round cairns lying at a distance of between 3.5m and 18m. The round
cairns range in size from 3.5m to 5m in diameter and stand to a maximum of
0.5m high. One of the smaller cairns has traces of a stone kerb around its

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.

Although the largest round cairn has been partly robbed, the extent of
disturbance to the round cairn cemetery 1000m north west of Heddon Hill is
limited and archaeological deposits survive reasonably well. The cemetery will
contain evidence within, beneath and between the cairns relating to
agricultural and funerary practices. It is one of a number of prehistoric
sites of good quality on and around Dod Hill and will contribute to any study
of land use and burial practices during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England

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