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Enclosed cremation cemetery in Wykeham Forest, 230m south of Loft Howe

A Scheduled Monument in Wykeham, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2772 / 54°16'37"N

Longitude: -0.5429 / 0°32'34"W

OS Eastings: 494973.043674

OS Northings: 487814.100614

OS Grid: SE949878

Mapcode National: GBR SLNZ.8J

Mapcode Global: WHGBY.MRPF

Entry Name: Enclosed cremation cemetery in Wykeham Forest, 230m south of Loft Howe

Scheduled Date: 5 August 1933

Last Amended: 20 July 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017097

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32525

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Wykeham

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes an enclosed cremation cemetery situated on level ground
at the head of Foss Gill, towards the northern scarp edge of the Tabular
The cemetery has a circular enclosure bounded by an earth and stone bank up to
2m wide and standing up to 0.5m high. The interior of the circle has a maximum
diameter of 12m. Originally the bank would have been continuous but over the
years it has become damaged by forestry activities and now is only fragmentary
on the west side. The bank has two earthfast stones set into the top, at the
north and at the south east. Only the stone at the south east is visible now;
the other stone was broken in the 1980s as a result of forestry activities and
the stump has become covered by vegetation. The enclosing bank is surrounded
by an outer ditch which is up to 2m wide and 0.3m deep.
The cremation cemetery lies within a dense concentration of prehistoric burial
monuments, in an area which also includes the remains of prehistoric
settlement and land division.

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

An enclosed cremation cemetery is a burial place comprising one or more
deposits of burnt human remains interred within a roughly circular or oval
enclosure bounded by a bank and outer ditch. Present evidence suggests that
enclosed cremation cemeteries were essentially burial places and ceremonial
foci of Late Neolithic date which may well represent the antecedents of the
more widespread ring cairn tradition of the Early and Middle Bronze Age. As a
monument class, enclosed cremation cemeteries have only relatively recently
been defined and only a very few examples have been identified so far, all of
them in the southern part of the country. This is unlikely to be an accurate
reflection of the original number present. As a rare monument type, all
positively identified enclosed cremation cemeteries are considered to be of
national importance.
A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of
stones surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the
inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid
boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are
interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact
nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has
revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and
pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial
rituals. Ring cairns occasionally lie within round barrow cemeteries and in
northern England they are often associated with cairnfields.
On the North York Moors a number of prehistoric ritual monuments have been
identified as enclosed cremation cemeteries. They have characteristics in
common with both the Late Neolithic enclosed cremation cemeteries found
further south and Bronze Age ring cairns. None of the identified examples have
been subjected to modern investigation but it seems likely that they represent
either the earthen counterparts of ring cairns or a chronological stage in
their development. As such, they will contain important information to aid our
understanding of the development and complexity of funerary and ritual
practice during the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods.
The Tabular Hills in the Wykeham Forest area contain a dense concentration of
prehistoric monuments, dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age, which
includes field systems, enclosures and land boundaries as well as ritual and
funerary monuments. The spatial and chronological relationships between the
different monuments in this area are of considerable importance for
understanding the development of later prehistoric society in eastern
Despite disturbance the cremation cemetery 230m south of Loft Howe survives
well. Significant information about the date and form of construction will be
preserved. Important evidence for the nature and duration of the rituals
involved in its use will survive in the interior of the enclosure. Evidence
for earlier land use and the contemporary environment will be preserved
beneath the bank and within the lower ditch fills.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Lee, G E, Wykeham Archaeological Survey, (1991)
Pacitto, A L, AM107, (1982)

Source: Historic England

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