REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
Hob Hurst's House is an unusual form of fancy barrow or cairn which most closely resembles the type known as a saucer barrow, although there are significant differences between the two. True saucer barrows are funerary monuments of the Early Bronze Age, with most examples dating to between 1800 and 1200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries; that is, closely spaced groups of round barrows. They were constructed as a circular area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and largely occupied by a single, low, squat mound covering one or more burials, usually in a pit. The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are sometimes accompanied by tools, pottery vessels and personal ornaments. Saucer barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow with about 60 known examples nationally, most of which are in Wessex. The presence of grave goods within the barrows provides important evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a rare and fragile form of barrow, all identified saucer barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance. Not only does Hob Hurst's House lie outside the main distribution area for this class of monument, it exhibits an unconventional form, being roughly square instead of circular and including such atypical features as a cist and retaining wall. Partial excavation of the site has provided clear evidence of an in situ cremation which, together with the monument's unusual architecture and the particular characteristics of its burial remains, illustrates well the diversity in funerary practices associated with Bronze Age communities. The monument is well preserved and, as excavation has been limited to the cist and part of the south side of the central mound, it retains substantial intact archaeological remains throughout the rest of the mound and in the bank and ditch. The monument also forms part of a wider relict Bronze Age landscape which includes other burial cairns and ceremonial and settlement evidence. It is the only burial cairn of exactly this type so far identified in the Peak District although another cairn on the East Moors, located c.1.5km to the north east has some similarities.
The monument is situated on the crest of Harland Edge which is in the area of the eastern gritstone moorlands of the Peak District commonly known as the East Moors. It includes a roughly square gritstone cairn, measuring 8m by 7.5m by c.0.9m high, which incorporates a central cist comprising 13 contiguous gritstone orthostats which together form a rectangular, box-like structure measuring 3m by 2m internally. Surrounding the cairn is a steep-sided 3m wide rock-cut ditch which is in turn enclosed by a 1m high bank measuring between 3m and 4m wide. Both bank and ditch are rectilinear in plan and have rounded corners. On the north side, the bank has been cut through by a path of relatively recent date which follows the edge of the ditch. Recently, erosion on the south side of the central cairn revealed a stone retaining wall around its outer edge. The cist was revealed during a partial excavation of the cairn by Thomas Bateman in 1853. Bateman found a layer of charcoal throughout the interior of the cist, indicating that it had been the site of a cremation. In the south eastern corner, a deposit of calcined bones and charcoal was found with pieces of burnt galena or lead ore. The deposit had been demarcated by an arc of fire-scorched sandstone rocks, a practice stated by Bateman as being rare in the Midlands but common in the Channel Islands. A second deposit of burnt bones was found on the north side of the cist. These remains indicate a Bronze Age date for the cairn which is only one of several to be found on Harland Edge and which stands above the extensive Bronze Age field systems occurring on Beeley Moor and Beeley Warren which lie to the south west. The monument has been in State care since 1884.
Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, J - Title: The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989) - Date: 1989
Unpublished Title Reference - Author: Barnatt, J W - Title: Peak District Barrow Survey - Date: 1989 - Description: unpublished survey
Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, John - Date: 1993 - Type: PERS COMM
Book Reference - Author: Bateman, Thomas - Title: Ten Years Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave-Hills - Date: 1861 - Page References: 87-89 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: With illustrations
Map Reference - Author: Trent and Peak Archaeological Unit - Title: Contour survey - Date: 1988 - Type: PLAN: MEASURED - Description: Carried out for HBMC
Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, John - Title: Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District - Date: 1986 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 106 - Page References: 63 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Cairn 72