Ancient Monuments

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Aldro earthworks: seven bowl barrows and part of a linear boundary on Birdsall Wold, 220m east-north-east of Aldro Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Birdsall, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0566 / 54°3'23"N

Longitude: -0.7626 / 0°45'45"W

OS Eastings: 481097.683994

OS Northings: 462998.063552

OS Grid: SE810629

Mapcode National: GBR RP3J.PL

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.893H

Entry Name: Aldro earthworks: seven bowl barrows and part of a linear boundary on Birdsall Wold, 220m east-north-east of Aldro Farm

Scheduled Date: 15 January 1931

Last Amended: 27 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007456

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20468

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 seven bowl barrows and part of an adjacent linear
boundary situated on the crest of Birdsall Wold. It is one of a number of
prehistoric monuments in the vicinity of Aldro Farm.
Although altered over the years by agricultural activity, four of the barrows
are still visible as gently sloping mounds, ranging between 1m and 0.3m in
height. The edges of the mounds are indistinct but the diameter of the largest
has been estimated as 26m while the smallest has a diameter of about 20m.
Aerial photographs reveal the circular outlines of a buried ditch surrounding
each barrow and the ditches of three barrows which are no longer visible as
surface features; the ditches range from 32m to 15m in diameter. Material for
the construction of the barrows was originally quarried from these ditches.
The four upstanding barrows were recorded by J R Mortimer in 1874 and their
outward appearance has altered little since that time. Mortimer's partial
excavations recorded the contents of deep burial pits under the centre of two
of the mounds; it is thought that the infilled ditches surrounding the mounds
and peripheral burials remain intact.
Although levelled by agricultural activity, the infilled ditch of the linear
boundary is visible on aerial photographs and it runs from close to Aldro Rath
eastwards along the brow of the hill. The ditch is estimated to be about 5m
wide and it will have been flanked by banks formed from the excavated earth
which are no longer visible as surface features. Where it lies adjacent to the
edges of the northernmost barrows, the ditch is included in the scheduling.

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,
some are still clearly visible as upstanding mounds and were comparatively
well documented during a campaign of fieldwork in the 19th century. Other
barrows and a linear boundary included in the scheduling are only visible from
aerial photographs but the below-ground remains of infilled ditches and burial
pits will survive intact.
The monument is one of a closely associated group of barrows which have
further associations with broadly contemporary boundary earthworks in the
vicinity of Birdsall Wold. Similar groups of monuments are also known 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,
Stoetz, K., RCHME unpublished survey,

Source: Historic England

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