Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield with enclosure, house platform and ring cairn 800m north east of Raven Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Beeley, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2062 / 53°12'22"N

Longitude: -1.573 / 1°34'22"W

OS Eastings: 428616.281699

OS Northings: 367762.004424

OS Grid: SK286677

Mapcode National: GBR 57X.YZY

Mapcode Global: WHCD8.TN4Y

Entry Name: Cairnfield with enclosure, house platform and ring cairn 800m north east of Raven Tor

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020233

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31277

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Beeley

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Beeley St Anne

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes a prehistoric cairnfield together with an embanked
enclosure, house platform and ring cairn. The whole complex is indicative of
Bronze Age settlement and agriculture dating to the second millennium BC. It
contains elements of funerary and ceremonial activities as well as those of
agricultural and domestic life.

The complex occupies gently sloping ground close to a west-facing escarpment.
It comprises a large cairnfield containing at its western edge an enclosure
which surrounds a ring cairn, cairns and a house platform.

There are approximately 20 or more cairns in the cairnfield as a whole with a
particular concentration at the southern end. The cairns are of varying sizes
but typically between 1.5m and 4m in diameter. Most of the cairns are low,
standing less than 0.5m high, although a few are higher. Within the cairnfield
are stretches of fragmentary linear clearance indicating that the area was
once divided into field plots, probably by fences or hedges. Most of the
cairns appear to be undisturbed. One of the smaller cairns contains a
smoothed boulder with a concave top, interpreted as a prehistoric saddle quern
once used for grinding corn.

At the western side of the complex stands an enclosure constructed of turf and
stones which appears to have been formed from land clearance debris. The
enclosure is ovoid in shape with much of its structure surviving as a
well-defined bank enclosing an area about 90m by 55m. It is thought that this
may have functioned as a stock enclosure, garden plot, or domestic yard.
Within the enclosure are a number of features. Towards the southern end is a
ring of turf and stones approximately 8.5m in diameter (externally) and
between 1.5m-2m in width. This is a ring cairn, constructed for ceremonial
purposes and surrounded by a kerb of stones. A small cairn, funerary in
function, has been constructed on the southern edge of the ring cairn. To the
north of the ring cairn stand two small cairns and a further circular
structure. The latter comprises a platform for a cicular timber building,
approximately 8m in diameter, which is likely to have been a domestic
building. Arcs of clearance stones surround the house site where they were
once placed around the sides of the building.

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.
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.

Hut circles were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers and take a variety
of forms. Some are stone based and are visible as low walls containing a
circular floor area. Others were timber constructions identified as earthwork
platforms created to provide a level surface for the houses. Several
settlements have been shown to be associated with organised field plots, the
fields being defined by low stony banks or groups of clearance cairns. Their
longevity of use and their relationship with other monument types provides
important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming
practices amongst prehistoric communities.

The cairnfield with enclosure, house platform and ring cairn 800m north east
of Raven Tor survive well. They 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 W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 158-9
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 158
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 158
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 158-9
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 158
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 66
Radley, J, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in A Ring Bank On Beeley Moor, , Vol. 85, (1965), 126-131

Source: Historic England

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