Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow in Towthorpe Plantation, 800m NNE of Burdale North Wold

A Scheduled Monument in Wharram, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0641 / 54°3'50"N

Longitude: -0.655 / 0°39'17"W

OS Eastings: 488126.2094

OS Northings: 463963.1684

OS Grid: SE881639

Mapcode National: GBR RPVF.ZW

Mapcode Global: WHGD1.X38Q

Entry Name: Bowl barrow in Towthorpe Plantation, 800m NNE of Burdale North Wold

Scheduled Date: 11 November 1966

Last Amended: 15 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013712

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26534

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 in Towthorpe Plantation, situated on the
county boundary line between North Yorkshire and Humberside. The barrow is one
of a group of seven barrows surviving in this area, five of which are in a
line along the county boundary.

The barrow survives as a prominent mound up to 3m in height, and is between
34m (north-south) and 40m (east-west) in diameter. It is surrounded by a
ditch 3m wide, which although no longer visible at ground level, will
survive as a buried feature.

The monument was originally part of a much larger group of 21 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.

A depression in the centre of the mound summit attests to the fact that the
barrow was excavated by J R Mortimer in 1870, who discovered the calcined
bones of a child amongst some decayed wood ESE of the mound centre, about a
metre from the mound base. This burial was made during the raising of the
mound, following the primary interment.

The primary interment was found cut into bedrock beneath the centre of the
mound, and contained the remains of an extended male skeleton measuring 1.8
metres long, and orientated from head to feet, north west-south east. Finds
overall included a small pot sherd contained within a depression, flint
fragments, two saws, a spear-head and a spoon-shaped black flint scraper.
A bronze dagger blade, contained within a much decayed bronze sheath, was
found by the left arm of the skeleton, a hammer-stone to the left of the head
and a black flint knife to the right of the upper jaw bone.

Much of the material of the barrow mound was found to consist of local clay
brought in from Burdale and Duggleby, for the purpose of the burial. Layers of
this clay alternated with layers of reddish soil from the burial location, and
filled the centre of the grave beneath the mound.

A modern post and wire fence runs past the monument to its south side, 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 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

Despite part excavation by J R Mortimer in 1870, the barrow survives in very
good condition, almost to its original height, 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), 3-6
Bastow, M.E., AM107, (1989)
Craster, OE, AM7, (1966)
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)
Pacitto, A.L., AM107, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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