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Scheduled Monument: NINE STONE CLOSE SMALL STONE CIRCLE (1008007)

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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 94
Date assigned Wednesday, December 1, 1993
Date last amended


REASONS FOE DESIGNATION Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of upright or recumbent stones. The circle of stones may be surrounded by earthwork features such as enclosing banks and ditches. Single upright stones may be found within the circle or outside it and avenues of stones radiating out from the circle occur at some sites. Burial cairns may also be found close to and on occasion within the circle. Stone circles are found throughout England although they are concentrated in western areas, with particular clusters in upland areas such as Bodmin and Dartmoor in the south-west and the Lake District and the rest of Cumbria in the north-west. This distribution may be more a reflection of present survival rather than an original pattern. Where excavated they have been found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2400-1000 BC). It is clear that they were carefully designed and laid out, frequently exhibiting very regularly spaced stones, the heights of which also appear to have been of some importance. We do not fully understand the uses for which these monuments were originally constructed but it is clear that they had considerable ritual importance for the societies that used them. In many instances excavation has indicated that they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function, helping mark the passage of time and seasons, this being indicated by the careful alignment of stones to mark important solar or lunar events such as sunrise or sunset at midsummer or midwinter. At other sites the spacing of individual circles throughout the landscape has led to a suggestion that each one provided some form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group. A small stone circle comprises a regular or irregular ring of between 7 and 16 stones with a diameter of between 4 and 20 metres. They are widespread throughout England although clusters are found on Dartmoor, the North Yorkshire Moors, in the Peak District and in the uplands of Cumbria and Northumberland. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England, over 100 are examples of small stone circles. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation. Nine Stone Close stone circle is larger in diameter than most small stone circles and so demonstrates well the diversity of form of this class of monument. Although a number of stones have been removed, the interior of the monument is largely undisturbed and retains significant archaeological remains. DETAILS Nine Stone Close small stone circle is located on the edge of Harthill Moor in the eastern gritstone moors of Derbyshire. The monument is a small stone circle and includes the four remaining upright stones and the sites of the stones which were removed in the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the latter lies 70 metres to the south where, in the late 18th century, it was taken to be used as a gatepost in a field wall. As this stone is no longer in-situ it is not included in the scheduling. The remaining upright stones are all c. two metres high and form the eastern arc of the original circle which had a diameter of approximately 30 metres. The south-west stone has cup marks on both faces. These are artificial incisions often found on stones incorporated into Bronze Age ceremonial and domestic structures. They may have been purely decorative or could have served a practical function which has not so far been recognised. Partial excavations of the circle were carried out by Thomas Bateman in 1847, Jewitt and Greenwell in 1877 and J P Heathcote in 1939. Numerous flints and pot-sherds were found which date the monument to the Bronze Age. In addition, the circle forms part of a rich prehistoric landscape on Harthill Moor which includes Bronze Age barrows and settlement enclosures. The drystone wall which crosses the monument is excluded from the scheduling although the ground underneath is included. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, John - Date: 1992 - Type: PERS COMM Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, John - Title: The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District - Date: 1990 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1 Book Reference - Author: Bateman, T. - Title: Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire - Date: 1848 - Page References: 102 - Type: DESC TEXT Book Reference - Author: Marsden B - Title: The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire (1977) - Date: 1977 - Page References: 43 - Type: DESC TEXT Book Reference - Author: Radley, J. - Title: Bronze Age Ringworks in the Pennines - Page References: 25 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Heathcote, J.P. - Title: The Nine Stones, Harthill Moor - Date: 1939 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 60 - Page References: 126-8 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Rooke, H. - Date: 1782 - Journal Title: Archaeologia - Type: DESC TEXT

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1993. Scheduling Notification: Nine Stone Close Small Stone Circle. List entry no. 1008007. SM Cat. No. 94.



Grid reference Centred SK 2254 6264 (27m by 28m)
Map sheet SK26SW

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Aug 27 2013 3:54PM

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