Ancient Monuments

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Aldro earthworks: two linear boundaries and a bowl barrow on Birdsall Wold, south of Aldro Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Birdsall, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0544 / 54°3'15"N

Longitude: -0.7686 / 0°46'6"W

OS Eastings: 480711.798641

OS Northings: 462748.15639

OS Grid: SE807627

Mapcode National: GBR RP2K.DC

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.5C85

Entry Name: Aldro earthworks: two linear boundaries and a bowl barrow on Birdsall Wold, south of Aldro Farm

Scheduled Date: 15 January 1931

Last Amended: 27 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007469

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20491

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 prehistoric linear boundary running east-west across a
plateau at the western end of Birdsall Wold, part of an associated linear
earthwork at its eastern end and a bowl barrow which is incorporated into the
linear boundary at the western end of the monument. This is one of a number of
prehistoric monuments in the vicinity of Aldro Farm.
The linear boundary comprises a broad shallow ditch, now used as a farm track,
with banks of earth up to 0.5m high on each side, the whole being 12m wide.
The south side corresponds to the modern hedgeline and parish boundary. The
eastern end of the earthwork becomes less distinct and there are a number of
slight earthworks in the field to the south of Aldro Farm which are thought to
be the continuation of the linear boundary to the north. The clearest of these
defines the western edge of the area and is a 0.5m high bank which runs south
from the corner of the farm buildings.
The western end of the linear boundary incorporates a bowl barrow into the
southern bank. Although altered over the years by agricultural activity, the
barrow is still visible as a 1.5m high mound beneath the hedge. The barrow is
one of a group of seven bowl barrows which were recorded by J R Mortimer in
1867-72 and at that time its diameter was noted as 18m. Mortimer's partial
excavation of the mound revealed that it was surrounded by a ditch whose width
is estimated to be 3m.
Modern fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is

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

The linear earthworks south of Aldro Farm are well-preserved parts of an
extensive system of prehistoric dykes which has been recorded on the Wolds.
Their construction is thought to span the millennium from the Middle Bronze
Age, although they may have been re-used later. Current interpretations favour
the view that they were used to define territorial land holdings or
subdivisions within such holdings; in the latter case they defined areas of
land used for different purposes.
The linear earthworks are also directly associated with an earlier bowl
barrow, a type of funerary monument dating from the Late Neolithic through to
the Early Bronze Age. Bowl barrows were constructed as earthen or rubble
mounds, usually ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Although
the barrow has been partially altered by agricultural activity, it remains
visible and was comparatively well documented during a campaign of fieldwork
in the 19th century. It will retain evidence of the form of the original
barrow mound and the burials placed within it. The close juxtaposition of the
linear earthworks with the bowl barrow provides an insight into the changing
patterns of land use in this area of the Wolds during the Bronze Age. Such
associations between monuments offer important scope for the study of the
division and use of land for social, ritual and agricultural purposes.

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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