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Scheduled Monument: TWO CAIRNS AT CROW CHIN (1016810)

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Authority English Heritage
Date assigned Thursday, January 21, 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. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2,000-700 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. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are the stone equivalents 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 prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. The cairns at Crow Chin are large and complex and were located in a commanding position overlooking a considerable area of land to the west containing much evidence for contemporary settlement and agriculture. As such, these funerary structures were undoubtedly of considerable importance to the community which built them and are instructive as to the social organisation and religious beliefs of prehistoric societies. The southern cairn survives reasonably well. That to the north has been disturbed by excavation but will still retain significant archaeological information in that section of the mound now surviving as a bank-like feature. DETAILS The monument includes the remains of two large adjacent cairns located on the edge of a significant west-facing escarpment overlooking Bamford Moor. Their position, size and archaeological history indicate that they were prehistoric funerary structures of some importance to the local region. The northerly cairn of the two now comprises an earthen bank with an external diameter of 20.5m by 18.5m which stands about 0.6m high. Originally, this was a flat-topped cairn with central mound but the interior has been disturbed by previous excavation leaving a bare earthen surface and the remains of a central cist, now dismantled. There are three piles of loose stones which resulted from the excavation; two are located immediately outside the cairn, the other stands by the south western rim. There is a kerb of gritstone blocks around the external perimeter of the cairn which was not excavated and much of which remains undisturbed. Excavation of the cairn has revealed artefacts, indicating that the structure was a Bronze Age funerary monument, but residual worked stone material, incorporated into the mound, indicates that the immediate area was also occupied during the earlier Mesolithic period. The second cairn is located approximately 25m to the south of the other and measures 19.5m by 18m and stands at least 0.8m high. Unlike its northern counterpart, this cairn stands relatively complete. There are visible disturbances at the centre of the structure suggesting there may have been a very limited excavation but many buried features are likely to survive intact. The monument has a flat-topped rim with the centre rising to form an inner mound, a relatively unusual feature in the local region. This cairn also has an outer kerb of gritstone blocks forming a ring around the outside of the monument. A small undisturbed cairn of approximately 2m by 3m, standing immediately to the north east of the monument, may also be prehistoric and is included in the scheduling. SELECTED SOURCES Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J. W. - Title: Peak District Barrow Survey - Date: 1989 - Page References: 27:3/4 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: unpublished survey archive

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1999. Scheduling Notification: Two Cairns at Crow Chin. List entry no. 1016810.



Grid reference Centred SK 2247 8563 (23m by 60m)
Map sheet SK28NW

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Record last edited

Oct 21 2013 2:15PM

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