Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Potato Nab round barrow 1020m south west of Penny Holme

A Scheduled Monument in Pockley, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.307 / 54°18'25"N

Longitude: -1.022 / 1°1'19"W

OS Eastings: 463733.427747

OS Northings: 490591.330435

OS Grid: SE637905

Mapcode National: GBR PL9M.JV

Mapcode Global: WHF9L.80LJ

Entry Name: Potato Nab round barrow 1020m south west of Penny Holme

Scheduled Date: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019592

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32689

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Pockley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Kirkdale St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes earthwork and associated buried remains of a prehistoric
burial mound sited on top of Potato Nab between Aldergate Bank and Rollgate
The round barrow is in a very prominent position, overlooking Sleightholme
Dale to the east and Skiplam Moor to the north. It is intervisible with both
Aldergate round barrow sited on the edge of the scarp 750m to the south east
and with the round barrow on Birk Nab 1.25km to the north west. Both these
round barrows are the subject of separate schedulings.
The monument survives as a 13m diameter mound sited just off the highest point
of Potato Nab so that its south west side merges with the modern ground
surface. On its north and south east sides it can be seen to rise to 1m high;
its eastern side merging with the steep scarp down into the dale. The barrow
shows evidence of excavation in the past with a central 5m diameter hollow.
Excavation of other examples of round barrows in the region have shown that
even where no encircling depression is discernible on the modern ground
surface, ditches immediately around the outside of the mound frequently
survive as infilled features, containing additional archaeological deposits. A
margin to allow for such an infilled ditch up to 2m wide around the western
and southern sides is thus also included within the monument. No ditch would
have been possible around the rest of the circuit because of the steep scarp
down into the dale to the east.

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

Round barrows 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 mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered
single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as
cemeteries and often acted as a focus of 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 examples recorded nationally (many more have already
been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area
where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl
or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major
historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in
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

The majority of round barrows in the region were dug into by 19th century
antiquarians in search of burials and artifacts, 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. Secondary burials
tend to be located within the main body of the mound and sometimes one of
these was mistaken for the primary burial which was usual the 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 and infilled ditch. Additional valuable information about the mound's
construction and the local environment at the time of its construction will
also survive antiquarian excavation.
Potato Nab round barrow 1020m south west of Penny Holme is a good example of a
small, but prominently placed burial mound which will retain important
information about Bronze Age society in the area.

Source: Historic England

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