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Monument record MDR2029 - Rolley Low barrow, Longstone Edge, Great Longstone

Type and Period (6)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Arch1@o2Barrow on Wardlow Common crossed by two intersecting field walls. Opened on 6th August 1844 by T. Bateman. Produced a primary crouched inhumation in a limestone cist with a capstone, paved floor and clay sealed joints. Grave goods included a type 2(ii) food vessel, two flint arrowheads, one of which was leaf-shaped, and a large boar's tusk. On the capstone of the cist was a crouched skeleton with three worked flints. Three feet below the mound surface, the centre of the cairn, about eight feet in diameter, was enclosed by a circular retaining wall. This area was divided into four compartments, "so as to exhibit a ground plan similar to a roulette table". None of the four compartments had been roofed and all were filled with small stones. One compartment contained a headless skeleton and a child's lower jaw. A second contained a single skeleton. A third contained an urn, inverted over a cremation, and a skeleton with a "finely preserved skull". The last compartment contained a skeleton with a deer's horn and an otter jaw. Near the surface were scattered bones and a bronze awl. A beaker sherd occurred in the mound material (SMR 6424). A third brass of Constantine was found near the surface. (1,9) [SK 18447362] ROLLEY LOW. (5). Rolley Low bowl barrow is located west of Longstone Moor on the limestone plateau of Derbyshire. The monument includes a sub-circular bowl barrow measuring 26m by 23m by c.2m high. It may have been the barrow on Wardlow Common partially excavated by Thomas Bateman in 1844 but this has not been verified. Its form and location, and its proximity to other examples of this class of monument, indicate a Bronze Age date. (7). Published survey 1/2500 correct. Maximum height is 1.8m. (8) Bateman variously described his excavation as being at 'Rolley Lowe …upon Wardlow Common', 'Rolling Hill ..about half a mile from Wardlow', and 'Rolley Low ..on some elevated ground on Wardlow Common'. He described it as being forty-five feet in diameter and five feet high, noting that 'The outer circumference of the major part of this barrow was constructed of some description of clayey composition which had become as hard as a turnpike road'. He put in a trench at the centre and found the following: one foot from the surface a spread of a few human bones and teeth and a Roman coin; one and a half feet from the surface a brass bin [bronze awl?]; three feet down, a central walled area eight feet in diameter, divided into five partitions by large limestones. There were no capstones and the partitions were filled by small stones. In one partition was an inhumation with no head, and the jaw of a child, in another an inhumation, in the third a collared urn over a human cremation with an antler tine. Nearby was a human skull, possible from the first partition. In the fourth and northernmost partition was an inhumation with an antler tine and an otter jaw. No finds were noted in the fifth. Four feet down from the surface an inhumation was found on a large slab at the level of the old ground surface, with three 'rude instruments' of flint. The slab was the capstone of a rectangular cist set into the old ground surface. The capstone was 6ft by 4ft, internal dimensions being 3ft by 2ft and one and a half feet deep, with four smooth limestone slabs and a fifth on the floor. All joints were filled with clay. Within the cist was a contracted inhumation on its left side, with a Food Vessel at the pelvis. Elsewhere in the cist were two 'very neat arrowheads of uncommon form'. The drawing shows a flint knife, the other probably being an awl. There was also a large boar's tusk and a piece of tempered clay with fragments of decayed wood. Additional finds from various parts of the mound included a Beaker sherd, a 'spearhead of coarse flint' and a few animal bones. This excavation has usually been ascribed to the barrow at SK18447662. However three significant differences occur. Firstly the barrow is virtually twice the size of that described by Bateman; secondly he describes it as being on Wardlow Common whereas it is in Great Longstone parish; thirdly he makes no mention of a wall crossing the mound. There are two possibilities. Bateman may have inadvertently quoted the radius of the barrow instead of the diameter and may have avoided the wall by placing his trench immediately to the north; topographically the barrow could be described as being on Wardlow Common despite being in Great Longstone parish. In this case the identification is correct. Alternatively the excavation described above took place at a site now lost/destroyed. (12)

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Bateman, T. 1848. Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire. p55-6.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Jewitt, L. 1870. Grave Mounds and their Contents. fig. 22.
  • <3> Article in serial: Addy, S. 1908. 'The names of the Derbyshire and Staffordshire barrows', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 30, pp 103-141.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Abercromby, J. 1912. Bronze Age Pottery of the British Isles. p184, 140.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1955. 6".
  • <6> Article in serial: Manby, T. 1957. 'Food vessels of the Peak District', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 77, pp 1-29. p26.
  • <7> Scheduling record: Ministry of Works. 1961. Ancient Monuments of England and Wales. 31.
  • <8> Personal Observation: F1 JB 15-DEC-65.
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: Marsden, B. 1977. The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire. p40.
  • <10> Bibliographic reference: Hawke-Smith, C F. 1979. 'Man-Land Relations in British Prehistory: The Dove-Derwent Interfluve, Derbyshire', British Archaeological Report. Series 64 (170).
  • <11> Index: NDAT. 1009. 1009.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Barnatt, J. 1989. The Peak District Barrow Survey (updated 1994). Sites 4:2 & 4.21.



Grid reference Centred SK 1844 7362 (24m by 24m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR614
  • EDR1097

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Record last edited

Apr 9 2018 10:03AM

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