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Carved rock, cist and cairnfield 580m west of Hindon Edge

A Scheduled Monument in Langleydale and Shotton, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.6128 / 54°36'45"N

Longitude: -1.9255 / 1°55'31"W

OS Eastings: 404909.309363

OS Northings: 524179.190879

OS Grid: NZ049241

Mapcode National: GBR GHZ3.Y7

Mapcode Global: WHB46.DBB4

Entry Name: Carved rock, cist and cairnfield 580m west of Hindon Edge

Scheduled Date: 22 December 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021116

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35961

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Langleydale and Shotton

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Staindrop

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument includes a carved rock, a cist and a cairnfield. The carved
rock is 620m west of Hindon Edge and about 84m west of a line of grouse
butts. The rock is approximately 2 sq m and stands to a height of about
0.8m. The carving consists of at least five cup marks on the top surface
of the rock. The cist is 448m WSW of Hindon Edge, 24m south of a field
wall. The cist consists of a small stone box constructed from sandstone
slabs. The top of the cist is just below ground level and is partly
covered by a small collection of flatish rocks. The inside of the cist
measures approximately 0.3 sq m. The external dimensions of the cist are
not measurable as the outer edge is not exposed.

The centre of the cairnfield is approximately 580m west of Hindon Edge. It
lies mainly on moorland but extends into the enclosed land to the south.
The cairnfield includes at least seven cairns and four stretches of rubble
bank. The cairns are typically 2m to 4m in diameter and up to 0.2m high.
They are distributed fairly evenly over an area approximately 340m long
and 160m wide. The rubble banks lie within the same area and are up to 2m
wide and 0.2m high. The banks are mostly straight or slightly meandering
and do not form any coherent pattern. They are typically about 40m long.
Both the rubble banks and the cairns are difficult to locate in areas of
deep heather, and it is likely that more will survive in the area defined.
Additional small cairns are known on the hillside further east, closer to
Hindon Edge. These are very diffusely distributed and their extent has not
been defined, therefore they do not form part of this scheduling.

The drystone wall is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it is included.

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

Prehistoric rock art is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of upland
Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland,
Durham and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of decoration is the
`cup and ring' marking where expanses of small cup-like hollows are pecked
into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more
`rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the `rings' may
also exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Pecked lines or grooves can
also exist in isolation from cup and ring decoration. Other shapes and
patterns also occur, but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in
small groups, or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the
Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (c.2800-500 BC) and provide one of our
most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the
designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious
Frequently they are found close to contemporary burial monuments and the
symbols are also found on portable stones placed directly next to burials or
incorporated in burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock-art
have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection
of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed
in activities such as quarrying. All positively identified prehistoric rock
art sites will normally 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
cleared from the surrounding land surface to improve its use for
agriculture, and on occasion their distribution 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

Cists are small rectangular stone structures used for burial in the Bronze
Age. They are made up of regular stone slabs forming a box-like structure
sometimes topped by a larger coverstone. In north east England the
coverstone is sometimes carved with cup and ring marks. Cists may occur in
association with cairns, ring cairns and cairnfields, but may also survive
as free-standing monuments with no enclosing stone and earth cairn. Cists
provide insight into the range of ceremonial and ritual practices of
Bronze Age farming communities.

The carved rock, cist and cairnfield 580m west of Hindon Edge survive
well. They provide important evidence of the links between Bronze Age
agricultural practice, burial, and belief systems. They form an important
part of a wider distribution of cairnfields, carved rocks, and prehistoric
burials in the plantations, allotments, and commons north east of
Eggleston, and form part of the prehistoric landscape of the North

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Laurie, T, Prehistoric Rock Art in County Durham, Swaledale and Wensleydale, (1998), 86
Brown, P, Carved rocks and cairns near Hindon Edge,
Brown, P, Carved rocks and cairns near Hindon Edge,
Brown, P, Cist near Hindon Edge,

Source: Historic England

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