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Monument record MDR2473 - Possible cairns, Birchinlee, Hope Woodlands

Type and Period (2)

  • ? (Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 3000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • ? (Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 3000 BC to 1501 BC)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

There are several round barrows at SK 161 923 on Birchinlee Pasture, west of the Derwent Reservoir. Some were opened about 1936 by the Keeper's daughter and contained burnt bones and ashes. (1) Birchinlee Pasture is an area covered with peat bogs and heather. No trace of the above-mentioned barrows was seen during perambulation. (2) The retired keeper, Mr E H Peat, stated that the 6 or 7 barrows were only very small, had been virtually destroyed by excavation and would now be almost impossible to find. He could indicate only a very approximate siting, area centred SK 161923. (3) These 6 to 7 small cairns, said to have been excavated and destroyed in c1935, are difficult to assess. The area is largely covered in blanket bog and is not a convincing locality for a cairnfield. The excavated features (dug by a non archaeologist) may have been misinterpreted, being natural or later in date. The only finds were "burnt bones and ashes". Today the vicinity has extant earthen mounds associated with peat cutting and several small quarries with upcast. (5) In this area is a small group of loose stones, of medium size, surrounding natural earthfast boulders. They form small, indistinct cairns of approximately 3.5m in diameter. Many of the stones may have been removed for the building of the adjacent drystone boundary wall. There is an extant cairn, of probable prehistoric date, nearby [HER 8271]. It is possible that this feature may be part of a group of clearance cairns, although there is little evidence of cleared patches of ground in this area. It is more likely that the cairns were funerary, especially as a small group of cairns were discovered in the 1930s and were said to have contained ashes and burnt bone. Although a previous National Trust survey was unable to locate these features due to heather growth, these may well be the remains of the excavated cairns. Peat build-up around the features (exposed by animal erosion), suggests that they may be of some antiquity and the cairns are likely to date to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age. The investigation of further cairns in this area was impeded by extensive heather cover at the time of survey. (6) These features represent the ephemeral remains of an uncertainly interpreted cairnfield. It is unclear whether any of the burnt bones said to have been found in cairns on Birchinlee Pasture in the 1930s might have come from a nearby cairn to the south [HER 8271]. (7)

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Index: Transcript Hunter Index, 2, D/178 (F.L. Preston).
  • <2> Personal Observation: F1 JB 30-SEP-65.
  • <3> Personal Observation: F2 FRH 13-JAN-66.
  • <4> Index: NDAT. NDAT: 0749.. 0749.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Barnatt, J. 1989. The Peak District Barrow Survey (updated 1994). Site 18:F.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Bevan, B & Sidebottom, P (PDNPA). 1995. Birchinlee and Rowlee Pastures to Bleaklow, Hope Woodlands, Derbyshire, archaeological survey, 1995. p 10, Feature 12.
  • <7> 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 62.



Grid reference Centred SK 162 924 (159m by 121m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR3914
  • EDR1057
  • EDR1512

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Jun 22 2015 12:53PM

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