Ancient Monuments

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Two bowl barrows on Birdsall Wold, between Birdsall Dale and Vessey Pasture Dale

A Scheduled Monument in Birdsall, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.051 / 54°3'3"N

Longitude: -0.7548 / 0°45'17"W

OS Eastings: 481620.594075

OS Northings: 462390.568248

OS Grid: SE816623

Mapcode National: GBR RP5L.DK

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.CFTR

Entry Name: Two bowl barrows on Birdsall Wold, between Birdsall Dale and Vessey Pasture Dale

Scheduled Date: 15 January 1931

Last Amended: 27 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007441

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20477

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 a pair of adjacent bowl barrows situated on the crest of
a southward spur of Birdsall Wold, between Birdsall Dale and Vessey Pasture
Dale. The barrows are members of a group of prehistoric monuments on Birdsall
Although altered over the years by agricultural activity, the barrows are each
visible as mounds 0.3m high and 20m in diameter. While no trace of a quarry-
ditch surrounding either barrow is visible, it is thought that these features
have become infilled over the years and survive below the surface; the ditches
are estimated to be 3m wide.
The barrows were recorded and partially excavated by J R Mortimer in 1869 and
traces of a central funerary pyre were revealed; other features, including
peripheral burials and the 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
information on 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)

Source: Historic England

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