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Pit alignment and two round barrows on Ugthorpe Moor, 700m south west of High Park Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Ugthorpe, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4802 / 54°28'48"N

Longitude: -0.7995 / 0°47'58"W

OS Eastings: 477880.553954

OS Northings: 510094.598333

OS Grid: NZ778100

Mapcode National: GBR QJVM.PQ

Mapcode Global: WHF8Q.PNH7

Entry Name: Pit alignment and two round barrows on Ugthorpe Moor, 700m south west of High Park Farm

Scheduled Date: 20 May 1963

Last Amended: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016532

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32486

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Ugthorpe

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ugthorpe Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a segmented embanked pit alignment and two round barrows
situated on a gentle south east facing slope towards the north edge of the
North York Moors. The pit alignment has two pairs of sub circular pits 3m-4m
in diameter which lie between parallel banks 15m apart and up to 18m long,
running in an east to west direction. Over the years the pit alignment has
been filled in and levelled by ploughing and is no longer visible as a
distinct earthwork, apart from the northern bank which survives as a low
earthwork 4m-6m wide and 0.2m-0.3m high. The pits survive as shallow
depressions and vegetation marks, and the southern bank as a barely visible
The pit alignment is aligned off centre from a round barrow 20m to the west.
The barrow has been spread by ploughing and has an earthen mound up to 35m in
diameter and standing up to 0.3m high. The surface is irregular and in the
centre there is a hollow caused by excavations in the past. An old cultivation
lynchet runs in a north east to south west direction across the south east
edge of the mound.
The second round barrow lies 65m to the west. It has an earthen mound which
has been spread by ploughing and measures 15m in diameter. The mound stands up
to 0.4m high. The line of a modern field drain runs north west to south east
across the centre of the mound. To the north of the barrow several small pits
have been identified from field survey work but these are no longer visible as
earthworks, having been filled in and levelled by ploughing over the years.
The pit alignment and barrows lie in an area where there are many other ritual
and funerary monuments dating to the prehistoric period.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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

A pit alignment is a linear arrangement of fairly closely spaced circular or
rectangular holes or pits over 1m in diameter. Some examples are several
kilometres long and some occur as part of a more complex linear earthwork
including linear ditches, slots, palisades and linear banks. Once dug, the
pits were left as open features which eroded and silted up over a period of
time. Nearly all pit alignments have been discovered from aerial photography
and survive as cropmarks or soil marks. They are largely found in river
valleys in central and northern England but they are also common on the
Yorkshire Wolds and are found in smaller numbers on other light freely
draining soils. Pit alignments probably formed boundaries. Where excavated
they usually appear to be prehistoric in date, although examples are also
known from the Roman period. All examples surviving as earthworks are
considered to merit protection.
In the north east part of the North York Moors a distinctive type of pit
alignment has been recognised and termed a segmented embanked pit alignment
(SEPA). These survive as inconspicuous low earthworks which consist of two or
three pairs of pits lying between parallel banks. In some cases several SEPAs
are conjoined to give the appearance of a more extensive linear earthwork. The
axis of the SEPAs is consistently orientated north west to south east and is
often tangential to more prominent Bronze Age round barrows. None of the SEPAs
have been excavated to modern standards but they are interpreted as ritual
monuments which may have had some function as a boundary. The exact nature of
the rituals concerned is not fully understood but their association with round
barrows is taken to indicate a link with funerary activities. All known
examples of SEPAs are considered to be of national importance because of their
highly localised occurrence, distinctive form and survival as earthworks.
Despite limited disturbance, the pit alignment and two round barrows on
Ugthorpe Moor, 700m south west of High Park Farm survives well. Significant
information about the original form of the monument and the rituals associated
with its use will be preserved. Important environmental evidence will survive
within the pit fills and evidence for earlier land use will also survive
beneath the northern bank. The importance of the two barrows are enhanced by
their association with the SEPA. Despite disturbance, evidence for the date
and form of the barrows and the burials placed within them will be preserved
and evidence for earlier land use will survive beneath the barrow mounds.
Unlike many barrows in this area the western barrow has not been excavated.
The barrows were originally in a group of at least ten burial monuments, of
which there are seven surviving. Such clusters provide important insight into
the development of ritual and funerary practice during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Lofthouse, C A, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Segmented Embanked Pit Alignments in the North York Moors, , Vol. 59, (1993), 383-392
2762.06, (1992)

Source: Historic England

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