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Square barrow at Mutton Gill, 670m north west of Wykeham Moor Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Wykeham, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.2709 / 54°16'15"N

Longitude: -0.5518 / 0°33'6"W

OS Eastings: 494405.419001

OS Northings: 487110.635

OS Grid: SE944871

Mapcode National: GBR SML1.BR

Mapcode Global: WHGBY.HXF6

Entry Name: Square barrow at Mutton Gill, 670m north west of Wykeham Moor Cottages

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019145

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32509

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Wykeham

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Details

The monument includes a square barrow situated in a prominent position
overlooking the valley of Short Grain, towards the north edge of the Tabular
Hills.
The barrow has a flat-topped earthen mound standing up to 0.6m high. It is
almost square in plan, orientated approximately north west to south east and
has a side length of 6m. The mound is surrounded by a ditch 1m wide and up to
0.4m deep. An unsurfaced forestry track has truncated the ditch at the north
east corner. The barrow lies 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.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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 the 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 barrow 670m north west of Wykeham Moor
Cottages survives well. Significant information about the original form of the
barrow, the burials placed beneath it and any rituals associated with its
construction and use will be preserved. Evidence for earlier land use and the
contemporary environment will also survive beneath the barrow mound and within
the surrounding ditch.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
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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