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Monument record MDR2467 - Low Field cairns, Derwent Reservoir, Derwent

Type and Period (3)

  • (Early Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 1501 BC)
  • (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • (Early Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 1501 BC)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

'In the year 1780, upon the 29th day of February, in getting stone out of a large low or heap of stones in Law Field, belonging to the Abbey, in Woodland, two of the Rev. Mr. Hall's sons found a hollow stone, or part of a very small trough, and several bones, like ribs and skulls, supposed to be human, and buried there.' 'In the year 1780, the Rev. Mr. Hall's son ... in digging at the east end of the low, or heap of stones, in Low Field … found several bones, supposed to be human, laid in ashes, and a piece of a hollow stone, like a piece of a small trough, now in my custody. I have also a small piece of brass, found in it some years ago, of the ancient metal, about two inches long, and edged on each side, as if part of a sword. I have also a small flint arrow-head, found near it…'. (1) The 1st ed. 25" Ordnance Survey map of c. 1880 shows a tumulus c. 200m to the south-west of Abbey Grange. (2) A cairn at SK 16929190 was opened in 1780 and found to contain several bones laid in ashes and a piece of bronze two inches long, with a flint arrowhead nearby. The remains of the cairn, which had a diameter of 35 feet, were seen by Mr F Preston in the exposed bed of the reservoir in October 1949 and again in September 1959 by Dr R G Newton. (3, 5) No additional information. (4) The grid reference given by Authority 6 - SK 169 929 - is a typing error and should read SK 169 919. (6) This barrow was located in the valley bottom on a west-facing slope and its visibility would have been restricted to views north and south along the valley and probably up a side valley to the east. The barrow is now submerged by the reservoir. It almost certainly equates to that described in Wilson's manuscript as having been excavated in 1780, when several bones 'laid in ashes' were found, as was 'a piece of hollow stone', possibly a rubbing stone. A 'small piece of brass', possibly a fragment of a bronze knife, was also found there, although possibly not in 1780. In 1992 the reservoir was low enough to permit survey. A low stone platform representing a second cairn was visible attached to the south/south-west side of the barrow. It comprised a flat-topped feature built of small stones, with larger stones at the downslope side. (7) The site is now scheduled. The monument comprises a stone cairn standing close to the high water mark of the Derwent Reservoir and which is submerged when the reservoir is full. It stands at a confluence of two watercourses in a relatively broad area of the Derwent Valley. Its location is unusual in being situated on the valley floor, rather than occupying the relatively high ground of the surrounding hills. The cairn, of medium and small stones, measures 24m by 18m and stands 0.7m high. Within it there is evidence for a cist and central pit within a relatively complex internal arrangement. Several artefacts have been recovered from the cairn and its immediate surroundings, including cremated bone, numerous worked flint and chert lithics, a bronze object (possibly a knife) and a rubbing stone. There is also a low platform attached to the south-south west edge of the cairn which may have been a second cairn. There is evidence of stone robbing from the cairn, probably for wall building. The cairn is likely to date to the Bronze Age and, as found with similar monuments elsewhere, may have originally been a clearance cairn before burials were added. (8) The barrow has been denuded of turf and topsoil and comprises a cairn with a robbed centre. Abutted to the south-west side is what appears to be a second low, flat-topped cairn. Where the two abut, in the side of the main mound, is an exposed cist measuring 0.8 x 0.3m internally, with two visible side slabs and a broken capstone nearby. A fragment of cremated bone has been recovered from the surface of the cist. (9) Photographic record. (10)

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Bateman, T. 1861. Ten Years' Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave Hills. Extract from Wilson's M.S., p 250, 253.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1882. OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile).
  • <3> Index: Transcript Hunter Index 1956 D/43 (F L Preston).
  • <4> Personal Observation: F1 FC 21-OCT-65.
  • <5> Index: NDAT. NDAT: 0753.. 0753.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Marsden, B. 1977. The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire. p30.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Barnatt, J. 1989. The Peak District Barrow Survey (updated 1994). Sites 28:13 & 28:21.
  • <8> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1998. Scheduling Notification: Cairn 550m south of Howden Reservoir Dam Wall. 29814. Cat. No.: 391.
  • <9> Article in serial: Barnatt, J. 1999. 'Taming the land: Peak District farming and ritual in the Bronze Age', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol. 119, pp 19-78. p 63.
  • <10> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Slide Collection. 4602:1-7.



Grid reference Centred SK 1692 9189 (37m by 36m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

  • EDR472
  • EDR478
  • EDR570
  • EDR1292

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Jun 8 2012 10:44AM

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