"Tides Low, Cairn". (1). Tideswell Top, about a mile from Wheston was opened "recently" when it was found to be "composed of a series of narrow caverns, formed with stones and earth" containing human bones. (2). Reference to 'Tideslawe' in Forest Proceedings of Henry III in 1251. (6).
Tides Low is a scheduled monument. "Tides Low is situated in the north-western uplands of the limestone plateau of Derbyshire. The monument includes a large Late Neolithic bowl barrow, an earlier Neolithic standing stone which became incorporated into the barrow when the latter was constructed, and the site of a small limekiln which was built on the barrow in the nineteenth century. The barrow is a sub-circular mound now measuring 38m by 33.5m and surviving to a height of c.2m. Its present mutilated appearance is due to excavations carried out in 1947 and 1968-1969 and also to stone-robbing carried out in the early nineteenth century in order to feed the limekiln and supply wall-stone for nearby drystone walls. Ebenezer Rhodes, writing in 1828, tells us that the barrow was `composed of a series of narrow caverns, formed with stones and earth, in which several skulls and many human bones were found.' There is no other record of these remains and it is assumed that they were further disrupted by subsequent nineteenth century activities. In 1947, local farmer J E Critchlow carried out a partial excavation of the barrow and discovered a late Roman coin from a secondary insertion, a flint knife and a trapezoidal limestone cist with its capstone. The cist measured 2.1m by between 1m and 1.5m and contained the disarticulated remains of part of a human skeleton.
Critchlow also uncovered a large standing stone whose presence indicated ritual use of the site before the barrow was constructed. Also in 1947, the cist was re-excavated by Messrs Jackson, Robinson and Salt of Buxton Museum and further remains were found. In addition to a number of ox teeth and small pieces of flint, human teeth and phalanges were recovered along with parts of two skulls and two lower jaws. From this it was deduced that the cist had contained three bodies and that the skeleton represented the latest to be interred. This and further evidence of multi-period burials in other parts of the barrow has led to the theory that a cemetery of free-standing cists and a standing stone existed before the barrow was raised over them. This, however, has yet to be confirmed.
In 1968 and 1969, the site of the 1947 excavation was reinvestigated under the direction of J Radley and M Plant. The area between the cist and the standing stone was found to contain a pavement consisting in part of limestone pavings and elsewhere of stony gravel. To the south of the cist, all traces of the pavement and the yellow clay on which it was bedded had been removed by earlier disturbance, but it was found to extend to the north of the cist where the pavement was partially sunk into the old land surface and the yellow clay contained a number of struck chert flakes and fragments of animal and human bones. The yellow clay and pavement were also traced eastwards to the present edge of the barrow. Two uprights set into the clay indicate the position of a second disturbed cist. In addition to scattered human remains, groups of better preserved bones were found in the same area and represent three individuals, one of which, buried to the east of the second cist, was set in a shallow grave cut into both the clay and the old land surface and edged with stones. The pavement also extended to the west of the first cist where a third cist was found erected on the old land surface. No burial remains were recovered but a flint scraper was found between two of the paving stones. This cist was six-sided, measured 2.25m by 1.5m and had been partially robbed of its stone. It was paved inside and a single upright stone indicated the location of a possible extension. A large number of broken human bones were found grouped outside it and are believed to have been removed from it prior to the construction of the mound. To the west and c.1m higher in the mound was found a perforated boar's tusk. Boar's tusks are often found in Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age barrows, but perforated examples are rare. To the north of the third cist, the remains of a drystone wall were recovered. Coal found beneath this wall indicates that it is of probable nineteenth century origin and to be associated with the limekiln." (7).
Published survey 1/2500 correct. A large cairn, defaced in places. (8)
Excavations were carried out in c. 1947 by the local farmer, Mr J Critchlow. He found a coin of Constantius (see SMR 14108) and a 'flint chisel'. He did not reach the buried ground surface, but found a stone cist with a single capstone. The capstone was broken by vandals, but the main bones of a disarticulated skeleton were recovered. There were no grave goods. Messrs Jackson, Robinson and Salt, representing Buxton Museum, visited the site later in 1947, after hearing of Critchlow's finds. They dug around and within the cist and found some human bone and ox teeth. Shortly after this the site was scheduled and excavation ceased with much of the trench left open. It appeared that there had been parts of three bodies in the cist. Excavation by Radley & Plant in 1968-69 revealed the ruins of two cists as well as many broken human bones in disturbed contexts. Some animal bone was also found, but the only artifact 'of any consequence' was a perforated boar's tusk. The site was interpreted as originally consisting of an open cemetery on the hill-top with a series of free-standing stone cists and a single standing stone which were in part surrounded by a paved area. The cemetery may have had a long history. The single standing stone appeared to be an anomaly. (9)
This very large barrow is somewhat oval, as at Minninglow and Stoney Low. Only its rim in the southwest is undisturbed; elsewhere the mound is extensively cratered and a limekiln has been inserted in the north-east quadrant. Its present height is c. 2.0m. The orthostat excavated by Radley remains visible, as do the ruins of the adjacent cist, although several of the slabs do not tally with the excavation plan and must have been placed here after excavation. The other features recorded in 1969 have been reburied. Surveyed, scale 1:200. (14).
C. Exley states that Roman coins were found near the edge of the mound in the 1950's. J. Critchlow also found a Roman coin in his 1946 excavation found in the disturbed mound near the orthostat. (9,13,14)