Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Square barrow in Broxa Forest, 440m south of Swarth Howe

A Scheduled Monument in Silpho, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3291 / 54°19'44"N

Longitude: -0.5109 / 0°30'39"W

OS Eastings: 496933.040356

OS Northings: 493639.000546

OS Grid: SE969936

Mapcode National: GBR SLWC.5W

Mapcode Global: WHGBS.3GZ2

Entry Name: Square barrow in Broxa Forest, 440m south of Swarth Howe

Scheduled Date: 25 November 1969

Last Amended: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019559

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34545

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Silpho

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Hackness with Harwood Dale

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a square barrow situated on level ground towards the
north eastern scarp edge of the Hackness Hills.
The barrow has a flat-topped earth and stone mound which stands up to 0.7m
high. It is sub-rectangular in plan and measures 8m NNE to SSW, by 7m. In the
centre of the mound there is a hollow caused by partial excavation in the
past. The mound was originally surrounded by a ditch up to 2m wide but this
has become in-filled over the years by soil slipping from the mound so that it
is no longer visible as an earthwork.
The barrow lies in an area where there are many other prehistoric burial
monuments, including both round and square barrows.

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

The square barrow in Broxa Forest, 440m south of Swarth Howe is a rare example
of a square barrow surviving as an upstanding earthwork. It will preserve a
range of evidence within and upon the flat-topped mound which does not survive
on the plough-flattened examples elsewhere. It is one of only a few to be
identified on the Hackness Hills, although there is a greater concentration on
the Tabular Hills to the south west. The Hackness square barrows form an
important group of this monument type which will provide valuable insight into
cultural development during the Iron Age.
Despite limited disturbance, this barrow has survived 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 buried ditch.

Source: Historic England


Craster, OE, AM7, (1968)
Title: 2nd Edition 25" Ordnance Survey sheet 77/2
Source Date: 1928

Title: Forestry Commission Areas North York Moors Archaeological Survey
Source Date: 1992
site 3.16

Source: Historic England

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