Scheduled Monument: COP LOW OVAL BARROW (1008057)

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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 48
Date assigned Tuesday, October 4, 1932
Date last amended Thursday, January 13, 1994


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early to Middle Neolithic periods, with the majority of dated monuments belonging to the later part of the range. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds of roughly elliptical plan, usually delimited by quarry ditches. These ditches can vary from paired "banana-shaped" ditches flanking the mound to "U-shaped" or unbroken oval ditches nearly or wholly encircling it. Along with the long barrows, oval barrows represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, oval barrows have produced two distinct types of burial rite: communal burials of groups of individuals, including adults and children, laid directly on the ground surface before the barrow was built; and burials of one or two adults interred in a grave pit centrally placed beneath the barrow mound. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that they may have acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Similarly, as the filling of the ditches around oval barrows often contains deliberately placed deposits of pottery, flintwork and bone, periodic ceremonial activity may have taken place at the barrow subsequent to its construction. Oval barrows are very rare nationally, with less than 50 recorded examples in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all oval barrows are considered to be nationally important. Cop Low is believed to be a rare example of an intact oval barrow and, as such, contains undisturbed archaeological remains. DETAILS The monument is an oval barrow located above Coplow Dale in the north-eastern shelves of the limestone plateau of Derbyshire. It includes an oval mound which is slightly wider at the eastern end and measures 18m from east to west and between 8m and 10m from north to south. It is c.0.5m high but sits at the summit of a rise which adds to its apparent height. It also appears to be partly natural, incorporating some large earthfast limestone boulders in addition to loose rock and soil. In the past, the monument was identified as the barrow called 'Cop Low' which was excavated by Bagshawe in 1863. It is now thought, however, that this may have been a different site and that the monument has not been excavated. Oval barrows date to the Neolithic period. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, J. - Title: The Peak District Barrow Survey - Date: 1989 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Site 3;7 Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, J. - Title: The Peak District Barrow Survey - Date: 1989 - Type: PLAN: MEASURED - Description: Site 3;7 Book Reference - Author: Marsden B - Title: The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire (1977) - Date: 1977 - Page References: 57 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Addy, S.O. - Title: The names of the Derbyshire and Staffordshire barrows - Date: 1908 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 30 - Page References: 103-41 - Type: DESC TEXT

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1932. Scheduling notification: Cop Low Oval Barrow. List entry no. 1008057. SM Cat. No. 48.



Grid reference Centred SK 1662 7913 (4m by 6m)
Map sheet SK17NE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Aug 9 2013 4:08PM

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