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Monument record MDR2800 - Chambered cairn (remains of), Harborough Rocks

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

A much-ruined chambered tomb at Harborough Rocks was excavated by John Ward in 1889. The site is between a roughly hewn stone called the "Arm Chair" above Harborough Cave and another called the "Pulpit", about two hundred feet to the north. This broken ground forms part of a strip of land, about 150 by 78ft having the brow of the hill for its western boundary and a line of protruding weather-beaten rocks for its eastern. Both line and strip come to an abrupt termination northwards in the highest point of the site at the "Jubilee" beacon. A low artificial mound extends from the rocks to the brow. This mound is 56ft long, with an average width of 7ft and height of 18ins and is built of stones: it probably has no connection with the chambered tomb. The chamber was little more than a paved area at the small end of a funnel-shaped stone setting; the cairn originally enclosing it was probably round and the whole site may be derived from the chambered round cairns of passage-grave type within the Boyne culture or its extensions in Anglesey. At least sixteen dolichocephelic individuals were represented, associated with broken leaf-shaped arrowheads. (1, 2) Although Ward claimed that this was a burial chamber Phillips considered that it "hardly merits grouping with normal burial chambers such as Mininglow and The Bridestones: it is clearly in the tradition of megalithic burial chambers, but it is perhaps a late and miniature embodiment of this tradition.". (3) Surveyed at 1:2500. A slight, semi-circular, earthen bank, situated at SK 2427 5533 in rough pasture, is now the only visual evidence of this barrow. It has a maximum external height of 0.9 m. and appears, from its regular form, to be the remains of the original mound. There is no vestige of the chamber or of any loose stone to corroborate the above statement that it was enclosed by a cairn.(4) Report of 9.11.62 correct. (5) Harborough Rocks, Brassington. This chambered tomb, the most southern of the series, stands on top of a staircase of magnesian limestone. Before this tomb was excavated by Ward in 1889, the mound had been robbed to leave a ring 46ft in diameter. At the centre were the remains of a chamber with a passage facing north-west. The chamber was wedge-shaped, with a paved floor and side slabs inclined inwards. The passage was funnel-shaped, but only the stones of the south-west wall remained. One capstone lay on the floor of the passage. On the floor of the chamber were the mixed bones of at leave five people; other human bones and three leaf-shaped flint arrowheads were scattered over the floor of the passage. (8) The monument stands on a rocky hilltop at the highest point on an undulating ridge. It was excavated by Ward in 1889, who recovered inhumations, four leaf arrowheads, flint flakes, iron, Romano-British and medieval sherds. Today the mound comprises a rim with the interior virtually removed. There are no visible signs of the 'chamber' dug by Ward, which probably lies somewhere under the southern rim. None of his trenches are visible and must have been well backfilled. (9)

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Piggot, S. 1954. Neolithic Cultures of the British Isles. p 267.
  • <2> Article in serial: Ward, J. 1890. 'On some diggings near Brassington, Derbyshire', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 12, pp 108-138. p 109, 118 ft plan illus.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Daniel, G E. 1950. Prehistoric Chambered Tombs of England and Wales. p 183.
  • <4> Personal Observation: F1 RWE 09-NOV-62.
  • <5> Personal Observation: F2 FDC 14-APR-66.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Marsden, B. 1977. The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire. p 5.
  • <7> Index: NDAT. 0466. 0466.
  • <8> Article in serial: Manby, T. 1958. 'Chambered tombs of Derbyshire', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 78, pp 25-39. pp 35-36.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Barnatt, J. 1989. The Peak District Barrow Survey (updated 1994). Site 10.21.



Grid reference Centred SK 2425 5531 (24m by 30m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR502
  • EDR939
  • EDR1077

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Record last edited

Sep 19 2016 11:44AM

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