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Three square barrows in Wykeham Forest, 590m south east of Mount Misery

A Scheduled Monument in Hackness, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.2875 / 54°17'14"N

Longitude: -0.5433 / 0°32'35"W

OS Eastings: 494921.947342

OS Northings: 488958.376166

OS Grid: SE949889

Mapcode National: GBR SLNV.5T

Mapcode Global: WHGBY.MHHJ

Entry Name: Three square barrows in Wykeham Forest, 590m south east of Mount Misery

Scheduled Date: 4 August 1933

Last Amended: 21 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017107

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32512

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Hackness

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Hutton Buscell St Matthew

Church of England Diocese: York

Details

The monument includes a pair of conjoined square barrows and an adjacent third
square barrow situated on level ground towards the northern scarp edge of the
Tabular Hills.
The southern of the two conjoined barrows has a well-defined, flat-topped
earthen mound standing up to 1m high. It is almost square in plan, orientated
NNW to SSE and sides measuring 7m. The mound is surrounded by a ditch
1.5m wide and up to 0.4m deep. In the centre of the mound there is a slight
hollow caused by partial excavation in the past. The conjoined barrow adjoins
the north side of the first and shares the ditch. It has a flat-topped earthen
mound standing up to 0.4m high. The mound is almost square in plan with sides
measuring 4m, orientated NNW to SSE. On the west, north and east sides the
mound is surrounded by a ditch up to 1m wide and 0.3m deep which is continuous
with the ditch of the first barrow running along the south side of the mound.
In the centre of the mound there is a slight hollow caused by partial
excavation in the past.
The third barrow is situated about 25m to the SSE of the southern barrow of
the pair. It also has a well-defined, flat-topped earthen mound standing up to
0.8m high. It is almost square in plan, orientated approximately north west to
south east and has sides measuring 6m. The mound was originally surrounded by
a ditch but this is no longer visible on the north east side, having become
filled in over the years by soil slipping from the mound. However, the ditch
survives on the other three sides of the mound, 1.5m wide and up to 0.25m
deep. In the centre of the mound there is a slight hollow which extends to
the eastern corner, caused by partial excavation in the past. Geophysical
survey in 1995 indicated the presence of two secondary burials, within the
ditch on the north west side and immediately to the south of the ditch on the
south east side.
The monument lies close to other clusters of square barrows within a dense
concentration of prehistoric burial monuments, in an area which also includes
the remains of prehistoric settlement and land division.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Square barrows are funerary monuments of the Middle Iron Age, most examples
dating from the period between c.500 BC and c.50 BC. The majority of these
monuments are found in the area between the River Humber and the southern
slopes of the North Yorkshire Moors but a wider distribution has also been
identified, principally through aerial photography, spreading through the
river valleys of the Midlands and south Essex. Around 200 square barrow
cemeteries have been recorded; in addition, a further 250 sites consisting of
single barrows or small groups of barrows have been identified.
Square barrows, which may be square or rectangular, were constructed as
earthen mounds surrounded by a ditch and covering one or more bodies. Slight
banks around the outer edge of the ditch have been noted in some examples. The
main burial is normally central and carefully placed in a rectangular or oval
grave pit, although burials placed on the ground surface below the mound are
also known.
A number of different types of burial have been identified, accompanied by
grave goods which vary greatly in range and type. The most elaborate include
the dismantled parts of a two-wheeled vehicle placed in the grave with the
body of the deceased.
Ploughing and intensive land use since prehistoric times have eroded and
levelled most square barrows and very few remain as upstanding monuments,
although the ditches and the grave pits, with their contents, will survive
beneath the ground surface. The different forms of burial and the variations
in the type and range of artefacts placed in the graves provide important
information on the beliefs, social organisation and material culture of these
Iron Age communities and their development over time. All examples of square
barrows which survive as upstanding earthworks, and a significant proportion
of the remainder, are considered of national importance and worthy of
protection.

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 both round
and square barrows. The very large number of burial monuments includes
particularly rare examples of square barrows surviving as upstanding
earthworks, and these will preserve a range of evidence within and upon the
flat topped mounds which does not survive on plough flattened examples
elsewhere. These square barrows form an important group of this monument type
which will provide valuable insight into cultural development during the Iron
Age. The spatial and chronological relationships between the round and square
barrows in the Wykeham Forest area, and between both types of barrow and other
prehistoric monuments, are of considerable importance for understanding the
development of later prehistoric society in eastern Yorkshire.
Despite limited disturbance, the square barrows in Wykeham Forest, 590m south
east of Mount Misery survive well. Significant information about the
original form of the barrows, the burials placed beneath them and any rituals
associated with their construction and use will be preserved. Flat graves will
survive in the intervening areas and evidence for the chronological
relationship between the barrows will be preserved. Evidence for earlier land
use and the contemporary environment will also survive beneath the barrow
mounds and within the lower ditch fills.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, , Earthwork and tumuli on Hutton Buscel Moor. Geophysical Survey, (1995)
West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, , Earthwork and tumuli on Hutton Buscel Moor. Geophysical Survey, (1995)
Mytum, H, 'Moorland Monuments' in Iron Age square barrows on the North York Moors, , Vol. 101, (1995), 31-37
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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