Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Round barrow on Boulby Cliffs known as the site of Rockcliff Beacon

A Scheduled Monument in Loftus, Redcar and Cleveland

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 54.5645 / 54°33'52"N

Longitude: -0.8423 / 0°50'32"W

OS Eastings: 474953.156474

OS Northings: 519426.286327

OS Grid: NZ749194

Mapcode National: GBR QHKN.FJ

Mapcode Global: WHF8B.1J5M

Entry Name: Round barrow on Boulby Cliffs known as the site of Rockcliff Beacon

Scheduled Date: 8 January 1974

Last Amended: 2 December 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018657

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31996

County: Redcar and Cleveland

Civil Parish: Loftus

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Easington All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a round barrow situated in a prominent position towards
the summit of Boulby Cliffs. The barrow has an earth and stone mound standing
up to 1.7m high. It is ovoid in shape and measures 20m east to west and 18m
north to south. Partial excavation by W Hornsby and J D Laverick in 1913
uncovered a cist burial, consisting of stone slabs set into the old ground
surface beneath the mound which would originally have surrounded a cremation.
The remains of two cremations were found as well as cup marked stones. The
barrow was originally one of at least 11 spread along the ridge of Boulby
Cliffs in an area which included other prehistoric ritual monuments.

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

Despite limited disturbance the barrow known as Rockcliffe Beacon survives
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. It is the only one of the original
group of Boulby barrows to survive as a visible monument.
Prehistoric rock art is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of
upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in
Northumberland, Durham and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of
decoration is the `cup and ring' marking, where expanses of small cup-like
hollows are pecked into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded
by one or more `rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through
the rings may also exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Pecked lines or
grooves can also exist in isolation from cup and ring decoration. Other
shapes and patterns also occur, but are less frequent. Carvings may occur
singly, in small groups, or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They
date to the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide
one of our most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning
of the designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or
religious symbols.
Frequently they are found close to contemporary burial monuments and the
symbols are also found on portable stones placed directly next to burials or
incorporated into burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock art
have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection
of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed
in activities such as quarrying. All positively identified prehistoric rock
art sites exhibiting a significant group of designs normally will be
identified as nationally important.
This barrow is one of several distributed along the northern and eastern
periphery of the North York Moors which contain decorated cup marked stones.
As such it can be dated earlier than many similar barrows on the central

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994)
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. 87, (1993)
Vyner, B E, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in The Excavation of a Neolithic Cairn at Street House, Loftus, Cld, , Vol. 50, (1984), 151-195
Vyner, B E, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in The Street House Wossit:exc of a LNeo and EBA palisaded ritual mon, , Vol. 54, (1988), 173-202

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.