Five Wells chambered cairn is reputed to be the highest megalithic tomb in Britain, high on Taddington Moor, its original mound was removed by wall builders around 200 years ago. The local antiquarian Thomas Bateman excavated the tomb in 1846. Only one of the cham­bers is still fully standing.
Five Wells is from the Neolithic period circa 4500BC to 2000BC, the cairn would originally have comprised two chambers constructed from large limestone slabs backing onto each other. These inner chambers were accessed via two low entrances facing east and west, with a dry-stone wall to either side and covered with a circular mound of earth.
Three excavations took place at Five Wells chambered cairn in the 19th century. The first exca­vation was on the 25th August 1846 by Thomas Bateman who discovered a number of human bones of both sexes, the jawbones of twelve individuals and a flint arrowhead.
In 1865, a Francis Lukis investigated the western passage, where he unearthed two or three decaying skeletons along with animal teeth, both Early and Late Neolithic pottery and a Neolithic arrowhead. He also discov­ered two Early Bronze Age flint artefacts, but did not record where exactly on the site these came from. In addition, Lukis uncovered two stone cists which had been inserted after the mound was constructed, one just north of the centre containing a skeleton and burnt bone and another north of the west entrance passage against the original outer edge of the mound. This second cist also contained a skeleton and a flake of flint.
Finally from 1899 to 1901, Micah Salt, a self taught archaeologist from Macclesfield in Cheshire, investigated the site. He discovered pottery frag­ments of Peterborough and Grimston ware both inside and outside the chambers.
Once covered by a 56ft diameter earthen mound, passages from outside led to two burial chambers which held twelve skeletons, flint tools and pottery remnants.