Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairnfield 400m north of Threestoneburn House

A Scheduled Monument in Ilderton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4811 / 55°28'52"N

Longitude: -2.0417 / 2°2'30"W

OS Eastings: 397462.903716

OS Northings: 620812.627982

OS Grid: NT974208

Mapcode National: GBR G551.SZ

Mapcode Global: WH9ZW.LHZG

Entry Name: Cairnfield 400m north of Threestoneburn House

Scheduled Date: 31 October 1972

Last Amended: 20 July 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019921

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31750

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 cairnfield of Bronze Age date, situated
on gently sloping ground above the Threestone Burn. Before modern
afforestation, the situation afforded extensive views in all directions. The
cairnfield is visible as the remains of at least 12 round cairns of stone and
earth construction. The cairns range in size from 2.5m to 7m in diameter and
stand to a maximum height of 1m.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one
another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone
cleared 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 may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC),
although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance
which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later 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. Cairnfields also retain
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the
prehistoric period.

The cairnfield 400m north of Threestoneburn House is reasonably well-preserved
and will retain archaeological deposits relating to their construction and
use. The monument additionally will contain evidence within, beneath and
between the cairns relating to agricultural and funerary practices. It will
therefore contribute to any study of prehistoric land use and burial practice
in this area.

Source: Historic England

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