A concentration of at least 12 cairns sited in close proximity to one another consisting largely of clearance cairns, built with stone cleared from the surrounding land surface to improve its use for agriculture. The cairns are located on a flat shelf at the southern end of the Brown Edge ridge in the Peak District, overlooking the Saltersitch brook.
Reasons for Designation
The cairnfield 320m north of Saltersitch Bridge is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Period: cairnfields are highly representative of the Bronze Age, and although not fully understood, they are considered important for the opportunity they give us to better understand the nature of prehistoric settlement and social organisation during this period;
* Potential: buried information is likely to survive intact under the many well-preserved cairns, and;
* Group value: the cairnfield sits within a significant wider Bronze Age landscape and is important to our understanding of prehistoric agriculture and settlement on the gritstone moors of the Peak District.
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 interconnections, 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 monument comprises a group at least 12 cairns, with diameters ranging from 1.5m to 3.5m, located on a flat shelf at the southern end of the Brown Edge ridge in the Peak District overlooking the Saltersitch brook. The distribution of the cairns lie at the edge of a stone-free area where more surface stones might be expected suggesting that the structures are evidence for prehistoric land clearance for settlement and agriculture.
Some of the cairns are slightly ovoid in shape indicating that they may once have formed part of a linear field bank. Many of the cairns appear to be undisturbed, while other cairns have been damaged by hollow ways which cross the moorland or by stone robbing. Stone scatters exposed by heather burning indicate that the cairnfield was probably once more extensive. Although the cairnfield appears isolated, there are more extensive Bronze Age settlement remains to the south west which are the subject of separate scheduling. The cairnfield 320m north of Saltersitch Bridge contains many well preserved cairns where buried information is likely to survive intact. As such it is important to our understanding of prehistoric agriculture and settlement on the gritstone moors of the Peak District.