Ancient Monuments

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Six round cairns at Rustif Head, 860m south east of Mount Pleasant Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Lockton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3014 / 54°18'5"N

Longitude: -0.6832 / 0°40'59"W

OS Eastings: 485786.9178

OS Northings: 490330.8158

OS Grid: SE857903

Mapcode National: GBR RLNP.WT

Mapcode Global: WHGBW.G4WT

Entry Name: Six round cairns at Rustif Head, 860m south east of Mount Pleasant Farm

Scheduled Date: 8 July 1969

Last Amended: 13 November 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021169

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35901

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Lockton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Lockton St Giles

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes six round cairns which are situated on level ground
on the central plateau of the Tabular Hills. Each of the six cairns is
in a separate area of protection.

Each cairn has a stony mound. The southern two mounds stand up to 0.4m and
0.6m, but the remainder have been reduced by ploughing and are each no
more than 0.3m high. Of the two southern cairns the south western cairn
has been truncated on its southern side by a former field boundary so that
it measures up to 5m in an east to west direction, but no more than 3.5m
from north to south; formerly it had a diameter of 7m. The south eastern
cairn measures up to 7m in diameter and has a small boulder in the centre;
formerly it had a diameter of 9m. The next cairn to the north also has a
boulder in the centre and measures 4m in diameter; formerly it had a
diameter of 6m. The most northern cairn has a diameter of 5m; formally it
had a diameter of 7m. The remaining two cairns are poorly defined with
diameters between 6m and 8m; formerly they had diameters of 9m. All of the
cairns have been disturbed by modern ploughing which has reduced them in
size. Originally the cairns were part of a cairnfield which consisted of
at least 20 cairns, interspersed with low banks forming part of a field
system associated with the cairnfield, and lynchets which were the result
of cultivation. The majority of the cairns would have been field clearance
cairns, constructed from stone cleared from the ground to improve it for
agriculture, but some of the larger cairns would also have been used for
burials. Most of the cairns and the associated banks, lynchets and old
ground surfaces between them have been destroyed by modern ploughing; the
six surviving cairns included within this monument are thought to have
been the largest and therefore the most likely to have been used for
burials. The cairns lie in an area which has many other prehistoric
monuments, including burial monuments and the remains of prehistoric land

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 cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or
multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined
compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch.
Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the
modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are
the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation
amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of
their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of protection.

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.

Despite disturbance from modern ploughing, the six round cairns at Rustif
Head, 860m south east of Mount Pleasant Farm have surviving archaeological
deposits which will preserve evidence for their date and form and the
burials placed within them. Evidence for earlier land use will survive
beneath the cairns. The cairns were formerly part of a cairnfield,
situated within an area which includes many other prehistoric burial
monuments. Associations such as this offer important scope for the study
of the relationship between agricultural and ritual activity in the
prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Craster, O E, OW819, (1967)
Craster, OE, AM7, (1967)
Title: 1st Edition 6" Ordnance Survey sheet 76
Source Date: 1854

Source: Historic England

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