Ancient Monuments

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Enclosed cremation cemetery and shieling 990m north of Gibbs Hill Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Henshaw, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.0251 / 55°1'30"N

Longitude: -2.3914 / 2°23'29"W

OS Eastings: 375075.207063

OS Northings: 570127.021132

OS Grid: NY750701

Mapcode National: GBR CBRB.2G

Mapcode Global: WH90Q.7YHL

Entry Name: Enclosed cremation cemetery and shieling 990m north of Gibbs Hill Farm

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1999

Last Amended: 21 February 2022

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020342

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28590

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Henshaw

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Haltwhistle Holy Cross

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a ring cairn of Bronze Age date, situated in a prominent
position on a gentle south facing slope below Chatley Crags, commanding
extensive views to the south east and south west. The cairn is visible as a
sub-circular enclosure measuring 30m north to south by 25m east to west within
a bank of stone and earth up to 2m wide. There are a series of upright slabs
within the bank facing inwards. Several of the stones in the eastern and south
western parts of the monument have been removed at a later date in order to
build a small rectangular structure, visible within the eastern half of the
enclosure. This later structure, which measures 8.5m by 5m, is interpreted as
a shieling of medieval date. Limited excavation in 1994 showed that the
monument is a complex structure of several phases. A large pit placed
near the centre of the monument was uncovered, which it is thought contains
the remains of a burial.

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.

The ring cairn immediately west of Chatley Crags is well preserved and
retains significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a number of
prehistoric monuments in the Hadrian's Wall corridor which, taken together,
will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of settlement and activity
at this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Adams, M, Survey and excavations at a stone circle on Gibbs Hill Farm, (1995)
Adams, M, Survey and excavations at a stone circle on Gibbs Hill Farm, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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