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Scheduled Monument: CAIRNFIELD 470M SOUTH WEST OF OFFERTON HOUSE (1016626)

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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 446
Date assigned Friday, April 16, 1999
Date last amended


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors. On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England as well settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time. A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, will 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 occasions their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. Occasionally, some of the cairns were used for funerary purposes, although without excavation it is difficult to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3,400 BC), although the majority date from the Bronze Age (2,000-700 BC). Cairnfields can also retain information concerning the development of land use and agricultural practices as well as the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period. The cairnfield 470m south west of Offerton House is particularly important in that the series of clearance cairns can be seen to directly associate with field clearance banks. As such it is important to our understanding of prehistoric agriculture and settlement on the gritstone moors of the Peak District. DETAILS The monument includes a discrete group of at least seven cairns forming a cairnfield, interpreted as prehistoric land clearance. In addition to the individual clearance cairns, there are fragmentary traces of linear clearance banks. The cairnfield occupies a well drained area in open moorland. The cairnfield forms part of a larger area of prehistoric settlement and agriculture. It is separated from other components by an area of rough uncleared land. The cairns range from 1.5m to 5m in diameter. At the northern end of the cairnfield are the remains of linear field banks consisting of fragmentary lines of clearance material. These are interpreted as the result of clearance from cultivation plots being thrown against hedges or fences in prehistoric times and are evidence of prehistoric arable cultivation. Within the cairnfield are two upright boulders arranged as if they were two sides of a stile. The date and function of this feature is unknown, but it is unlikely to be a natural formation. The complex is interpreted as evidence for Bronze Age clearance and agriculture forming part of an extensive pattern of settlement and agriculture on the moorland during prehistoric times. SELECTED SOURCES Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J. W. - Title: Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of Derbyshire - Date: 1986 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological journal - Volume: 106 - Page References: 66-68 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J. W. - Title: Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of Derbyshire - Date: 1986 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 106 - Page References: 66-68 - Type: PLAN: SKETCH

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1999. Scheduling Notification: Cairnfield 470m south west of Offerton House. List entry no. 1016626. SM Cat. No. 446.



Grid reference Centred SK 2102 8073 (189m by 118m)
Map sheet SK28SW

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Record last edited

Oct 16 2013 10:42AM

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