Two bowl barrows on Birdsall Wold, between Birdsall Dale and Vessey Pasture Dale
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Sep-2021 at 04:51:03.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- North Yorkshire
- Ryedale (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SE 81621 62391
Reasons for Designation
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 the barrows have been partially altered by agricultural activity, they are still clearly visible and were comparatively well documented during a campaign of fieldwork in the 19th century. They will retain further information on the form of the barrow mound and the burials placed within it. The monument is part of a closely associated group of barrows which have further associations with broadly contemporary boundary earthworks on Birdsall Wold. Similar groups of monuments are also known from other parts of the Wolds and from the southern edge of the North York Moors. Such associations between monuments offer important scope for the study of the division of land for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in different geographical areas during the prehistoric period.
The monument includes a pair of adjacent bowl barrows situated on the crest of
a southward spur of Birdsall Wold, between Birdsall Dale and Vessey Pasture
Dale. The barrows are members of a group of prehistoric monuments on Birdsall
Although altered over the years by agricultural activity, the barrows are each
visible as mounds 0.3m high and 20m in diameter. While no trace of a quarry-
ditch surrounding either barrow is visible, it is thought that these features
have become infilled over the years and survive below the surface; the ditches
are estimated to be 3m wide.
The barrows were recorded and partially excavated by J R Mortimer in 1869 and
traces of a central funerary pyre were revealed; other features, including
peripheral burials and the ditches surrounding the mounds, are thought to
MAP EXTRACT 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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905)
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing