Category Archives: Cairns, Tombs, Tumuli

For those who may not know, the terms ‘cairns’ and ‘tumuli’ are just prehistoric tombs. Another word we find as we move further north into Scotland is ‘cist’, which has a similar affiliation. A cairn is a pile of loose rocks and stones, which tends to be erected over a single or multiple burial or cremation – though without excavation we can never be sure which one it’s gonna be! A tumulus meanwhile (‘tumuli’ is the plural) is a heap of earth piled up over a burial or cremation. Small cairns and tumuli tend to cover single graves; whilst larger ones can have multiple burials therein. However we sometimes find that huge tombs have only one or two burials/ cremations inside. In such cases it’s likely that the people entombed there were of considerable importance: perhaps a tribal chief, a king, a queen, or powerful shaman. In many places across northern Britain, where there’s a profusion of cairns/tumuli we tend to find a good examples of prehistoric rock art, or cup-and-ring stones.

Lower Headley Farm, Thornton, Bradford, West Yorkshire

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SE 099 321 Archaeology & History There are no longer any remains of the prehistoric burial site that once stood in one of the fields by Lower Headley Farm.  We don’t know whether the … Continue reading

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Tumble Beacon, Banstead, Surrey

Tumulus:  OS Grid Reference – TQ 2432 5902 Archaeology & History This ancient “bowl barrow” as the modern archaeo’s are wont to describe it, is a Bronze Age tumulus that has seen better days.  But at least it’s still there … Continue reading

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Bedford Hill, Tooting, Surrey

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – TQ 288 726 Archaeology & History This long lost prehistoric tomb is one of many that has fallen under the destructive hammer of the christian Industrialists in this part of the country.  Located somewhere … Continue reading

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Longbarrow Field, Timble, North Yorkshire

Cairn (lost):  OS Grid Reference — SE 18 53 Archaeology & History Described in the Field Lore of Timble village by William Grainge (1895) are the names and short histories of some of the local place-names—with this in particular standing … Continue reading

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Manse Bridge, Melness, Tongue, Sutherland

Cairns:  OS Grid Reference – NC 5784 6229 Also Known as: Canmore ID 5385 Getting Here Along the A836 road between Durness and Tongue, take the minor road north to Melness and Talmine. 400 yards or so past Talmine Stores shop, … Continue reading

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Tongue House, Tongue, Sutherland

Chambered Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – NC 5926 5862 Also Known as: Canmore ID 5325 Getting Here I approached this by walking along the B8438 road northwest out of Tongue village, towards the road-crossing over the Kyle of Tongue.  There’s a small … Continue reading

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Southdown Cottage, Cotmandene, Dorking, Surrey

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – TQ 1686 4958 Archaeology & History Highlighted on the 1914 OS-map (as ‘Site of’), nothing now remains of the prehistoric structure that either covered or surrounded the ancient burial urn, found fortuitously by a … Continue reading

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Cock Howe (1), Skelton Moor, Marske, North Yorkshire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 0811 0063 Getting Here Take the minor high road between the hamlets of Marske and Fremington (up Hard Stiles from Marske side), turning up Stelling Road at the crossroads, and ⅔-mile (1.1km) along, turn right … Continue reading

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Law Knowe, Niddrie, Edinburgh, Midlothian

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NT 3076 7177 Archaeology & History Long since gone, this little-known burial mound could once be seen not far from the old mansion of Niddrie House.  The only reference I’ve found of it is in … Continue reading

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Rolleston’s Barrow, Rushmore, Tollard Royal, Wiltshire

Tumulus:  OS Grid Reference – ST 95552 18233 Archaeology & History In what today seems a barely visible tumulus, amidst the large cluster that could once be found upon the large estate grounds of Rushmore House, were once the overgrown … Continue reading

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