Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round barrow on Dunsley Moor, known as Swarth Howe

A Scheduled Monument in Aislaby, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4686 / 54°28'7"N

Longitude: -0.7007 / 0°42'2"W

OS Eastings: 484305.373066

OS Northings: 508916.305206

OS Grid: NZ843089

Mapcode National: GBR RJKR.3W

Mapcode Global: WHG9X.6YL5

Entry Name: Round barrow on Dunsley Moor, known as Swarth Howe

Scheduled Date: 6 July 1934

Last Amended: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016535

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32039

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Aislaby

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Aislaby St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a round barrow situated in a prominent position on the
north edge of the North York Moors.
The barrow has an earth and stone mound which stands up to 2m high and has a
maximum diameter of 25m. The barrow was originally surrounded by a kerb of
stones which defined the barrow and supported the mound. However, over the
years many of these stones have been taken away or buried by soil slipping off
the mound. In the centre of the mound there is a hollow, the result of the
partial excavation of the barrow in 1852 by S Anderson. He discovered a cist
burial consisting of stone slabs set vertically into a rectangular shape
around a cremation and covered with a further stone positioned horizontally.
He also found two other cremations, an inhumation burial as well as two jet
ornaments and a bone pin.
The barrow is one in a line of three (the others are the subject of separate
schedulings) and lies in an area rich in prehistoric monuments including
further barrows.

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

Despite limited disturbance the round barrow on Dunsley Moor, known as Swarth
Howe has survived well. Significant information about the original form of the
barrow and the burials placed within it will be preserved. Evidence for
earlier land use will also survive beneath the barrow mound.
Together with other burial monuments in the area, this barrow is thought to
represent a territorial marker. Similar monument groups are known across the
west and central areas of the North York Moors and provide valuable insight
into burial practice and land division for social and ritual purposes.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994), 86
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. 87, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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