Aldro earthworks: two linear boundaries and a bowl barrow on Birdsall Wold, south of Aldro Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

North Yorkshire
Ryedale (District Authority)
North Yorkshire
Ryedale (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 80703 62746

Reasons for Designation

The linear earthworks south of Aldro Farm are well-preserved parts of an extensive system of prehistoric dykes which has been recorded on the Wolds. Their construction is thought to span the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. Current interpretations favour the view that they were used to define territorial land holdings or subdivisions within such holdings; in the latter case they defined areas of land used for different purposes. The linear earthworks are also directly associated with an earlier bowl barrow, a type of funerary monument dating from the Late Neolithic through to the Early Bronze Age. Bowl barrows were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, usually ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Although the barrow has been partially altered by agricultural activity, it remains visible and was comparatively well documented during a campaign of fieldwork in the 19th century. It will retain evidence of the form of the original barrow mound and the burials placed within it. The close juxtaposition of the linear earthworks with the bowl barrow provides an insight into the changing patterns of land use in this area of the Wolds during the Bronze Age. Such associations between monuments offer important scope for the study of the division and use of land for social, ritual and agricultural purposes.


The monument includes a prehistoric linear boundary running east-west across a plateau at the western end of Birdsall Wold, part of an associated linear earthwork at its eastern end and a bowl barrow which is incorporated into the linear boundary at the western end of the monument. This is one of a number of prehistoric monuments in the vicinity of Aldro Farm. The linear boundary comprises a broad shallow ditch, now used as a farm track, with banks of earth up to 0.5m high on each side, the whole being 12m wide. The south side corresponds to the modern hedgeline and parish boundary. The eastern end of the earthwork becomes less distinct and there are a number of slight earthworks in the field to the south of Aldro Farm which are thought to be the continuation of the linear boundary to the north. The clearest of these defines the western edge of the area and is a 0.5m high bank which runs south from the corner of the farm buildings. The western end of the linear boundary incorporates a bowl barrow into the southern bank. Although altered over the years by agricultural activity, the barrow is still visible as a 1.5m high mound beneath the hedge. The barrow is one of a group of seven bowl barrows which were recorded by J R Mortimer in 1867-72 and at that time its diameter was noted as 18m. Mortimer's partial excavation of the mound revealed that it was surrounded by a ditch whose width is estimated to be 3m. Modern fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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.

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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

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