Ancient Monuments

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Aldro earthworks: a bowl barrow and part of a linear boundary on Birdsall Wold, 200m north-east of Aldro Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Birdsall, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0577 / 54°3'27"N

Longitude: -0.7643 / 0°45'51"W

OS Eastings: 480983.038567

OS Northings: 463121.459664

OS Grid: SE809631

Mapcode National: GBR RP3J.B5

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.789N

Entry Name: Aldro earthworks: a bowl barrow and part of a linear boundary on Birdsall Wold, 200m north-east of Aldro Farm

Scheduled Date: 15 January 1931

Last Amended: 27 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007467

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20466

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 bowl barrow and part of an adjacent prehistoric 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, the position of the
barrow is marked by a patch of chalky soil, 24m in diameter, which is the
remains of material deposited to form the barrow mound. The barrow is one of
eight bowl barrows which were recorded and partially excavated by J R Mortimer
in 1874; in this case, a shallow grave and traces of a funerary pyre were
discovered. There are no visible traces of the ditch which normally surrounds
barrows of this type, although this will survive as a buried feature.
Although altered by ploughing and no longer visible as a surface feature, the
infilled ditch of the linear boundary is visible on aerial photographs and
runs at a tangent to the modern estate road eastwards along the break of slope
of the hill. Mortimer noted that the boundary comprised a double ditch but
this is not confirmed by the photographic evidence, which shows a single ditch
estimated to be 5m in width. Banks formed of the excavated soil will have
flanked the ditch, although these are no longer visible as earthworks. That
part of the ditch adjacent to the barrow 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 barrow has been partially altered by agricultural activity, it
was comparatively well documented during a campaign of fieldwork in the 19th
century and below-ground remains will survive. It will retain further evidence
of the form of the barrow mound and the burials placed within it.
The barrow lies close to a linear boundary earthwork and, although the
boundary is no longer visible as a surface feature, the infilled ditch
survives below-ground and the monument will retain archaeological evidence for
the chronological relationship between the two features.
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

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