Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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A bowl barrow on Birdsall Brow, 600m north-east of Toisland Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Birdsall, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0628 / 54°3'46"N

Longitude: -0.7244 / 0°43'27"W

OS Eastings: 483587.097828

OS Northings: 463734.558992

OS Grid: SE835637

Mapcode National: GBR RPCG.ZC

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.V47Q

Entry Name: A bowl barrow on Birdsall Brow, 600m north-east of Toisland Farm

Scheduled Date: 11 November 1966

Last Amended: 19 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007533

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20515

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 situated on uncultivated land at the crest
of Birdsall Brow and is one of a number of prehistoric monuments on Birdsall
Despite damage at one time in the past due to a landslip on its north side,
the barrow is about two thirds complete and is visible as a well-defined mound
2m high and 10m across. Although it has become infilled over the years and is
no longer visible, a ditch from which material was quarried for the
construction of the mound surrounds the barrow on its intact south side; the
ditch is estimated to be 3m wide.
The barrow was recorded and partially excavated by J R Mortimer in 1866. A
central grave containing at least three burials was found.

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

Cross-dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km
long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or
more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges
and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial
photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and
analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans
the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used
later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial
boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities,
although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or
defensive earthworks. Cross-dykes are one of the few monument types which
illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of
considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the
Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well-
preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

Although partially excavated in the 19th century and damaged by a landslip,
the barrow is well preserved and about two thirds of the structure of the
mound, the underlying ground surface and further burials will survive.
The monument is one of the best preserved 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)

Source: Historic England

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