Keys to the Past

High Knowes Cairnfields (Alnham)

A series of cairnfields are known in the area to the south of High Knowes. They extend across a flat area of land to the east of Pigdon Burn and across the slope between High Knowes and Coppath Burn. The former cairnfield contained 22 cairns between 3m and 6m in diameter. There are also traces of a number of circular ditched enclosures, which may once have been surrounded the cairns. It has also been suggested that one of these enclosures may have been a very small Bronze Age henge site, a ditched enclosure used for religious purposes.
Excavations of a number of cairns in this area revealed several burials ranging from the Bronze Age to the first or second centuries AD. The latest burial contained an unusual bronze pin, similar to other examples from Ireland. Excavations on the cairnfield between High Knowes and Coppath Burn showed that these ones were much more damaged, and no direct evidence of any burials was found. It is probable that not all the cairn contained burials, and many were originally constructed by clearing away stones from fields before growing crops. Traces of these fields can be seen in the area in the form of cord rig, the remains of the slight banks and ditches created by prehistoric ploughing. This complex of archaeological sites probably began to be used in the Bronze Age, but there is clear evidence that activity continued into the Roman period. This is a Scheduled Monument protected by law.

Reference number:N1352
Historical period: Roman (43 to 410)
Later Prehistoric (4000BC to 43AD)
Bronze Age (2600BC to 700BC)
Iron Age (800BC to 43AD)
Legal status:Scheduled Ancient Monument
Event(s):MEASURED SURVEY, Excavations on Palisaded Settlements and Cairnfields at Alnham, Northumberland 1964

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See also:
Source of Reference
Local History of Alnham


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Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.