Ancient Monuments

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Siwards How, south east of the water tower, Heslington Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Heslington, York

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Latitude: 53.9502 / 53°57'0"N

Longitude: -1.0539 / 1°3'14"W

OS Eastings: 462186.150819

OS Northings: 450871.11841

OS Grid: SE621508

Mapcode National: GBR PQ2R.MP

Mapcode Global: WHFC3.SZB2

Entry Name: Siwards How, south east of the water tower, Heslington Hill

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1934

Last Amended: 4 March 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015690

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26623

County: York

Civil Parish: Heslington

Built-Up Area: York

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Heslington St Paul

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes an Anglo Saxon burial mound, or hlaew, on Heslington
Hill, 150m north west of the Morrell Library building of the University of
The monument is situated on the top of a natural hill, and includes a large
circular mound measuring approximately 30m in diameter and up to 6m high.
Although it has never been excavated, it is interpreted as a burial mound of
the Saxon period owing to its large size, and its overall likeness to Lamel
Hill, another large Saxon tumulus nearby, which contained the cremated remains
of 300 bodies within a single urn.
There is no visible evidence of a surrounding ditch, which will have been
infilled through the course of time but will survive as a buried feature. The
modern post and wire fencing which surrounds the modern water tower on
Heslington Hill immediately to the north west of the monument, 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

A hlaew is a burial monument of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date and comprising a
hemispherical mound of earth and redeposited bedrock constructed over a
primary burial or burials. These were usually inhumations, buried in a grave
cut into the subsoil beneath the mound, but cremations placed on the old
ground surface beneath the mound have also been found. Hlaews may occur
in pairs or in small groups; a few have accompanying flat graves. Constructed
during the pagan Saxon and Viking periods for individuals of high rank, they
served as visible and ostentatious markers of their social position. Some
were associated with territorial claims and appear to have been specifically
located to mark boundaries. They often contain objects which give information
on the range of technological skill and trading contacts of the period. Only
between 50 and 60 hlaews have been positively identified in England. As a
rare monument class all positively identified examples are considered worthy
of preservation.

Siwards How survives in good condition and, as there is no evidence that it
has ever been excavated, it will contain a full and undisturbed archaeological
record of its construction, together with related burials and grave goods.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
AM 7, (1968)

Source: Historic England

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