Two bowl barrows on Birdsall Wold, between Birdsall Dale and Vessey Pasture Dale

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007441

Date first listed: 15-Jan-1931

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Jan-1994

Map

Ordnance survey map of Two bowl barrows on Birdsall Wold, between Birdsall Dale and Vessey Pasture Dale
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Birdsall

National Grid Reference: SE 81621 62391

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 protection.

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.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

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 Wold. 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 remain intact.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 20477

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905)

End of official listing