Ancient Monuments

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Two round barrows 400m south west of West Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Pickering, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2677 / 54°16'3"N

Longitude: -0.7516 / 0°45'5"W

OS Eastings: 481404.87562

OS Northings: 486498.886518

OS Grid: SE814864

Mapcode National: GBR RM62.2X

Mapcode Global: WHF9Q.FZBQ

Entry Name: Two round barrows 400m south west of West Farm

Scheduled Date: 16 October 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020819

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35468

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Pickering

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Pickering St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes earthwork and buried remains of a pair of
prehistoric round barrows. It is located on high ground in the southern
part of the area of land known as Blansby Park, which lies on the southern
limestone fringe of the predominantly sandstone North York Moors. It
occupies a broad promontory of undulating land defined by the deep valleys
of Gundale Beck to the west and Newton Dale to the east and south.
Archaeological evidence shows that the land was used intensively in the
prehistoric, Roman and medieval periods for agricultural and ritual
purposes. Remains of these activities survive today.
The two barrows have been reduced by ploughing but can still be identified
as prominent rises up to 0.2m high marked by spreads of stone from the
barrow mound. Both the barrows are 9m in diameter and are 25m apart from
centre to centre. The area between the two mounds is included to preserve
the stratigraphic relationship between them.
The barrows were partially excavated in 1961 by Messrs Hayes and Rutter.
It was discovered that there had been a previous intervention, probably in
the mid-19th century when many burial mounds in the area had been opened
by Ruddock and Kendal.
The excavation of the southernmost mound revealed a shallow hollow cut
into the ground surface below the centre of the mound. This measured 2.2m
across and was 0.3m deep. Within it were found the remains of eight human
burials. A deeper pit some 1.2m deep was also found in the western edge of
the mound. The excavation of the northern mound revealed a pit 2m across
and 1m deep with a human burial in an urn adjacent to it. Other finds of
pottery from urns and pieces of worked flint were also found in the
excavations. Despite the excavations being of limited extent the
excavators were able to identify certain aspects of the construction of
the barrows. The composition of the mounds was mostly stone, predominately
the local calcareous grit. It was clear that at these two barrows there
was neither an outer ditch or kerbing.

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

Although partly reduced by agricultural activity, significant
archaeological deposits will be preserved within the two round barrows
400m south west of West Farm. It is known from the excavations in 1961
that features were cut into the ground surface below the barrow and that
further features will be preserved. The excavations have recovered
important evidence of the barrow and that record adds to its importance.
The barrows are two of many similar monuments in the immediate area and
will preserve important evidence of the ritual use of the landscape.
Excavation of other 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. Most barrows include a small
number of grave goods. These are often small pottery food vessels, but
stone, bone, jet and bronze items have also occasionally been found.
Excavation has also shown that even where no encircling depression is
discernible on the modern ground surface, ditches immediately around the
outside of barrows frequently survive as infilled features, containing
additional archaeological deposits.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Rutter, J G, The Excavation of Two Round Barrows in Blansby Park, (1973), 16-19
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994), 1-22124
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994), 1-22125

Source: Historic England

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