Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow, 150m south east of Towthorpe Reservoir

A Scheduled Monument in Wharram, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0621 / 54°3'43"N

Longitude: -0.6569 / 0°39'24"W

OS Eastings: 488006.751848

OS Northings: 463734.998225

OS Grid: SE880637

Mapcode National: GBR RPVG.LM

Mapcode Global: WHGD1.W5C9

Entry Name: Bowl barrow, 150m south east of Towthorpe Reservoir

Scheduled Date: 9 April 1964

Last Amended: 18 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013703

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26540

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Wharram

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Wharram St Mary

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a bowl barrow situated in fields 150m south east
of Towthorpe Reservoir, east of the B1248, between Wharram-le-Street and
Fridaythorpe. The monument is one of a group of seven barrows surviving in
this area, five of which lie 300m to the north, in a line along the county

Although altered over the years by agricultural activity, which has spread the
surface of the mound, the barrow is still visible as a low mound up to 0.5m
high and up to 30m in diameter. It is surrounded by a ditch up to 3m wide,
which although infilled by ploughing and now no longer visible at ground
level, will survive as a buried feature.

The monument was originally part of a much larger group of twenty one barrows,
recorded by J R Mortimer as stretching for 7km from Wharram in the west
nearly as far as Sledmere in the east, and itself forms part of a chain of
barrows extending along the line of the ancient greenway now known as the
Wolds Way, from Aldro to Sledmere.

The monument was excavated twice by J R Mortimer, in 1863 and again in 1865.
During the first excavation the remains of much decayed bones of a primary
burial were found in the centre of the mound at the base of a lenticular bed
of clay. This lay upon ashes, interpreted as the remains of a funeral pyre,
below which two food vessels were found standing close together, and a chipped
flint. In addition to this, another 12 struck flint flakes together with a
small splinter from the cutting edge of a green-stone celt were found. The
mound itself was composed of alternate layers of soil, organic and decayed
material, with the upper part of the clay core of the mound, reddened after
contact with the stratum of wood ashes, presumed to be the remains of the
funeral pyre. It is thought that the clay was brought in from Burdale,
Wharram-le-Street or Duggleby for the purpose of the burial.

During the second excavation in 1865, a finely worked black flint knife and
eight hand struck splinters of similar flint were discovered near the base of
the mound. A small thin fragment of bronze was also found.

A north-south directioned modern post and wire fence runs to the west of the
monument, and is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it
is included.

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

The monument is one of a closely associated group of barrows within and
adjacent to the Towthorpe Plantation. The location of the modern county
boundary along this line of barrows offers important insight into the
antiquity of land divisions in this region.

Despite part excavation by J R Mortimer in 1863 and again in 1867, and the
effects of ploughing over many years, the barrow still survives as a visible
mound, and will contain further burials, and archaeological information
relating to its construction.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905), 1-3
Bastow, M.E., AM107, (1989)
Charlesworth, D, AM7, (1963)
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)
Pacitto, A.L., AM107, (1985)
Walker, J., AM12, (1980)

Source: Historic England

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