Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round barrow on the summit of Brown Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Commondale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4924 / 54°29'32"N

Longitude: -0.9602 / 0°57'36"W

OS Eastings: 467452.25659

OS Northings: 511277.705737

OS Grid: NZ674112

Mapcode National: GBR PJQH.XD

Mapcode Global: WHF8N.7B1X

Entry Name: Round barrow on the summit of Brown Hill

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018769

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30189

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Commondale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Danby with Castleton and Commondale

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric burial
mound sited on the boundary between North Yorkshire and Redcar and Cleveland,
on the summit of Brown Hill which forms the southern side of Moorsholm Moor.
It lies towards the centre of a line of at least 11 round barrows which are
spread along the ridge from Stanghowe Moor in the north west to the barrows on
Three Howes Rigg 1km to the south east, the whole line extending for just over

The barrow on Brown Hill is prominently sited, on the south eastern side of
the small plateaux which forms the summit of the hill. It is 13m in diameter
standing up to 0.6m high with a central depression 2m across and a boundary
stone 1m to the south west of the centre of the mound, which is included in
the scheduling.

Excavation of other barrows has shown that shallow ditches immediately
encircling the mounds are common, normally surviving as infilled features
rather than as earthworks. The infill of these ditches will also contain
valuable information about changes in the local environment from the Bronze
Age onwards.

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

Excavation of round barrows in the region have shown that they demonstrate a
very wide range of burial rites from simple scatters of cremated material to
coffin inhumations and cremations contained in urns, typically dating to the
Bronze Age. A common factor is that barrows were normally used for more than
one burial and that the primary burial was frequently on or below the original
ground surface, often with secondary burials located within the body of the
mound. The majority of round barrows in the region were dug into by 19th
century antiquarians in search of burials and artefacts, leaving behind a
central depression as evidence of their work. However, excavations in the
latter half of the 20th century have shown that round barrows typically
contain archaeological information that survives earlier digging. Sometimes a
secondary burial was mistaken for the primary burial which was the usual goal
of the antiquarian. Even when the primary burial has been excavated, further
secondary burials often survive in the undisturbed surrounding part of the
mound. Additional valuable information about the mound's construction and the
local environment at the time of its construction will also survive
antiquarian excavation.

Despite some earlier disturbance, the round barrow on the summit Brown Hill
survives reasonably well and will retain significant archaeological remains.

Source: Historic England

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