Deconstructing modern mounds: what happened next…

Jo Collins – Monument Management Scheme Volunteer Coordinator

As part of our Historic England funded Monument Management Scheme, the project to tackle accidental damage caused to archaeological sites by walkers cairns is continuing. A second walkers cairn has been taken down on Raisdale Moor revealing the shape of the round barrow (burial mound) beneath. Six National Park volunteers helped move the modern cairn stones away, taking great care not to disturb the archaeological remains. A covering of small stones was left to protect the top of the Bronze Age barrow from natural erosion whilst heather and bilberry becomes established.

Raisdale Moor - NPA volunteers removing the walkers cairn from the scheduled barrow. Copyright NYMNPA.

Raisdale Moor - At the end of the task, National Park volunteers and Jo next to the round barrow without the walkers cairn. Copyright NYMNPA.

Now if you’re walking on the Cleveland Way at Live Moor near Whorlton you might notice a new information notice next to a prominent scheduled round barrow. As featured previously on this Blog the modern walkers cairn was removed by our apprentice team earlier this year, revealing the stony ancient burial mound underneath. We hope the information provided will help walkers understand why remedial action was needed and will encourage people to protect the archaeology and help preserve it for future generations.

5 thoughts on “Deconstructing modern mounds: what happened next…

  1. Since Heartbeat in Goathland there has been a huge increase in cairns. As fast as I try to remove them they slowly rise out of the ground again.

  2. Dear David

    Thanks very much for your comment. I thought you might be interested to know that our Monument Management Scheme arranged for two walkers cairns on scheduled monuments near Goathland to be taken down in 2011, under archaeological supervision. A survey of walkers cairns on Scheduled Monuments in the National Park was conducted by archaeological consultants in 2015. The Goathland area was found to have one walkers cairn near a scheduled monument; at Simon Howe. The condition of all three monuments, as well as others across the National Park, are monitored twice a year by trained volunteers who look in particular for new walkers cairns appearing and any changes in the walkers cairns such as stones being added or moved.

    Jo Collins
    Monument Management Scheme Volunteers Coordinator

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  4. Over the last 20 years there has been an incremental increase in memorial plaques & ‘shrines’ top the dead placed on the moors or screwed into prominent rock features. For a number of years there’s been a memorial screwed into the standing stone, Blue Man i’-the Moss 776992.

    A number of the pine trees on the Pickering/Whitby road are regularily festooned with xmas decorations and many of these are done as memorials for dead relatives (I’ve found condolence cards with names, laminated signs and so on)

    There’s a number of small mini-mounds, typical of them is one on Goathland moor to ‘grandma’, which has a small pile of painted stones and two or three small trees of around several inches in hight – (an Azalia and a small Pinus Parviflora!! according to label). Another on Wheeldale moor to, I think ‘a wonderful mum who loved these moors’, was placed on Wheeldale moor in long heather and this was composed of plastic flowers, plastic hearts, decorations and so on. Needless to say next time i passed it had become the victim to heather burning and little remained. Where practical I remove any plastic tat or other eyesores.

    In and around both Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay we are seeing an increase in memorial plaques planted on the rock armour and along the coastal paths. Including one which was screwed onto an existing bench placed below, I think, Gnipe Howe farm on the Cleveland way. This bench was originally placed in position by the landowner and farmer as a memorial to one of his relatives who enjoyed sitting there and there is a plaque explaining this. A year or two ago, someone else , screwed another memorial plaque onto this bench in memorial to one of their family. Needless to say the farmer removed this new plaque and even kindly left a prominent laminated note explaining why the new one had been removed and if still wanted it could be collected from the farmhouse for collection.

    But then perhaps we’re removing interesting finds for future archeologists to puzzle over.

  5. Pingback: Moor mounds | The official blog for the North York Moors National Park

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