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Pitland Hills


<b>Pitland Hills</b>Posted by HobImage © Unknown
Nearest Town:Hexham (16km SSE)
OS Ref (GB):   NY886792 / Sheet: 87
Latitude:55° 6' 24.83" N
Longitude:   2° 10' 43.34" W

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<b>Pitland Hills</b>Posted by Hob <b>Pitland Hills</b>Posted by Hob


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On 'Barrow No. 1.', the largest barrow:
A tradition, which I first heard during the progress of our excavations, was known to a former shepherd's wife, an aged dame, who had often spoken to her family of her desire to dig into the great mound in search of "the treasure of silver" said to be secreted in this great fairy knoll, so like the Gaelic "shian" associated with the hero Ossian. Children of the cottage have since told me they had often danced upon it and heard something "rattle and jingle" beneath their feet. Strange it is that the old dame's wish had not long ago been gratified; but, deterred by superstitious feeling, the mystery of the cairn remained unrevealed.
From the 1887 Archaeologia Aeliana article "Recent explorations in ancient British barrows, containing cup-marked stones, near Birtley, North Tynedale", by the Rev. G. Rome Hall.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
5th May 2013ce
Edited 5th May 2013ce

[An] interesting derivation is suggested by local tradition, which was mentioned to me many years ago by an intelligent neighbouring farmer. (The late Mr. Wm. Charlton of Rushy Law, which is the next farm to Pitland Hills eastward. His father lived to the great age of 102 years. Both were well-versed in the folk-lore of the district. Pickland Hills is still the more common local pronunciation.)

He informed me that his "fore-elders" called the place not Pitland, but "Pictland or Pickland" Hills, and that the ancient people, the Picts, or "Picks," as he preferred to pronounce the word, had a settlement here, and in working for iron and coal in the shallow pits on the moor first used the implements which our miners still call "picks," thus named after the people who introduced them.

It is noteworthy that the cairns scattered over our wild Northumbrian uplands, as at High Shield Green previously described in this paper, and on those of the Scottish Borders, are often associated with that fierce race of invaders from the north, whose name and deeds became a terror to the Romanised Britons of the Lower Isthmus, and probably for long afterwards.

"On the moors of Northumberland, such heaps are pointed out as places where a Pict's apron-string had broken, as he was carrying a load of stones to some of his superhuman erections." (Rambles in Northumberland p104.)

From the 'Recent Explorations' article linked to below.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th June 2011ce
Edited 17th June 2011ce


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The remains of 2 Bronze Age cairns, the most northerly of which, when excavatated in 1885 by GR Hall, yielded several cists and 17 examples of portable rock art, including one example of the rare 'microcups'.

English Heritage's online record of scheduled monuments claims that these portables have since been lost. In fact, they are safe and warm in the stone room of the Newcastle University Museum of Antiquities. The confusion may have arisen as EH spell Pitland with two 't's, whereas everyone else seems to spell it with only one. But it's the same site.

These portables may also have been the subjects of the first ever photograph of prehistoric rock art. Possibly.
Hob Posted by Hob
23rd February 2006ce
Edited 23rd February 2006ce


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Pitland Hills on BRAC Updated

Pitland Hills on BRAC
Posted by markj99
4th January 2021ce

Internet Archive

"On some cup-incised stones, found in an ancient British burial-mound at Pitland Hills, near Birtley, North Tynedale." A paper by the Rev. G. Rome Hall, in Archaeologia Aeliana v12 (1887).

The previous article is on similar lines: "Recent explorations in ancient British barrows, containing cup-marked stones, near Birtley, North Tynedale."
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
3rd February 2010ce
Edited 3rd February 2010ce

Pitland Hills on BRAC

rockartuk Posted by rockartuk
14th December 2007ce

Pitland Hills on the Beckensall Archive

A list of illustrations of the 17 marked stones found in the cairns. Mostly nowt special, mostly single cups, but with a couple of bits that may be vaguely interesting to enthusiasts.
Hob Posted by Hob
23rd February 2006ce