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Short cist burial cairn ND  3092 4281

Small field clearance cairn ND 3100 4285

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Small cairns, those Less than about 5 m diameter, generally fall into three groups, field clearance cairns, short cist burial cairns and modern cairns usually built to mark the summits of hills. This simple picture is more complicated in practice, for example a Neolithic field clearance cairn may have had a Bronze Age short cist burial inserted,  this in turn may have been covered by modern field clearance rubble as farmers tend to dump on existing clearance cairns.

The Yarrows Trail has an example of a short cist burial cairn close to the path at ND 3090 4275; several small clearance cairns can be found in the area but tend to be obscured by clumps of soft rush (ND 310 429).

Monuments such as field clearance cairns are valuable to environmental archaeologists because they seal old land surfaces creating time capsules of vegetation and local climate at the time they were built.

Diagram  indicating preserved prehistoric soil

Bronze Age short cist burial cairn

Field clearance cairn

Small Cairns