Ancient Monuments

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Three bowl barrows on Birdsall Wold, 400m north-west of Vessey Pasture Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Birdsall, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.0555 / 54°3'19"N

Longitude: -0.746 / 0°44'45"W

OS Eastings: 482186.375782

OS Northings: 462897.520809

OS Grid: SE821628

Mapcode National: GBR RP7J.9Z

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.HBZB

Entry Name: Three bowl barrows on Birdsall Wold, 400m north-west of Vessey Pasture Farm

Scheduled Date: 17 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007574

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20487

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

Details

The monument includes three bowl barrows situated on the crest of Birdsall
Wold, near the head of Vessey Pasture Dale. The barrows are among a number of
prehistoric monuments on Birdsall Wold.
Although altered over the years by agricultural activity, the westernmost
barrow is visible as a slight mound 0.3m high with a diameter of 24m. A ditch
22m in diameter, from which the material for the mound was quarried, is
visible on aerial photographs; this has become infilled over the years and is
now covered by the edges of the mound. The second and third barrows lie almost
due east, with centres at 26m and 42m from the centre of the first and,
although they have been infilled and no longer survive as earthworks, the
circular quarry ditches, each 16m in diameter, have been observed by aerial
photography.
The western barrow was recorded and partially excavated by J R Mortimer in
1868, when central cremation burials and a six foot deep grave were uncovered.
The encircling ditch was found to be 1.5m wide at the top and 1m deep. The
other two barrows were not excavated and their buried features such as the
ditches and grave pits will remain undisturbed.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 3 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
protection.

Although the barrows have been partially altered by agricultural activity, one
is still visible, retaining conditions for the preservation of features within
and beneath the mound, and was comparatively well-documented during a campaign
of fieldwork in the 19th century. The below-ground remains of the other two
barrows, including burials, will survive intact.
The monument consists of three 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

Sources

Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905)
Other
Stoetz, K., RCHME unpublished survey,

Source: Historic England

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