Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Two bowl barrows on Birdsall Wold, 850m east of Aldro Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Birdsall, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0559 / 54°3'21"N

Longitude: -0.7528 / 0°45'10"W

OS Eastings: 481739.267856

OS Northings: 462937.133374

OS Grid: SE817629

Mapcode National: GBR RP5J.TT

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.DBR0

Entry Name: Two bowl barrows on Birdsall Wold, 850m east of Aldro Farm

Scheduled Date: 15 January 1931

Last Amended: 27 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007403

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20479

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Birdsall

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: West Buckrose

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes two bowl barrows situated on the crest of Birdsall Wold,
near the head of Vessey Pasture Dale. The barrows are members of a group of
prehistoric monuments on Birdsall Wold.
Although altered over the years by agricultural activity, the barrows are
still visible as slight mounds, each 0.3m high. The circular outlines of
ditches (respectively 20m and 22m in diameter) surrounding the mounds are
visible in aerial photographs. The centres of the barrows are 30m apart and
the archaeologically sensitive area between them is included in the
The barrows were recorded and partially excavated by J R Mortimer in 1866 and,
although it was noted that the mounds had already been partially levelled by
cultivation, the remains of burials were recovered from the middle of each
barrow; other buried features, including peripheral burials and the infilled
ditches surrounding the mounds, are thought to remain intact.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar,
although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

Although the barrows have been partially altered by agricultural activity,
they are still clearly visible and were comparatively well documented during a
campaign of fieldwork in the 19th century. They will retain further evidence
of the form of the barrow mound and the burials placed within it.
The monument is part of a closely associated group of barrows which have
further associations with broadly contemporary boundary earthworks on Birdsall
Wold. Similar groups of monuments are also known from other parts of the Wolds
and from the southern edge of the North York Moors. Such associations between
monuments offer important scope for the study of the division of land for
social, ritual and agricultural purposes in different geographical areas
during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905)
Stoetz, K., RCHME Survey,

Source: Historic England

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