Aldro earthworks: a bowl barrow, a square barrow and part of a cross-dyke on Leavening Wold


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007517

Date first listed: 14-Jan-1994


Ordnance survey map of Aldro earthworks: a bowl barrow, a square barrow and part of a cross-dyke on Leavening Wold
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Leavening

National Grid Reference: SE 79865 63030

Reasons for Designation

This monument includes three different types of site of different periods in close association. Although now levelled, each will retain surviving archaeological remains in features cut into bedrock below ploughsoil. Their principal importance is as significant components of the wider distribution of linear earthworks and burial monuments which have been recorded on the Wolds. Taken together, the linear earthworks form an extensive system across the Wolds and 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 of such holdings; in the latter case, as for the cross-dyke in this monument, they probably defined areas of land used for different purposes. In a number of places, the linear earthworks are directly associated with earlier bowl barrows, funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Bowl barrows were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, usually ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. The barrow in this monument is one of a group and has a direct relationship with the cross-dyke; such relationships are important in providing an insight into the changing patterns of land-use through time across the Wolds. Unusually, the monument also includes a later, Iron Age square barrow; when it was constructed the earlier monuments would have been clearly visible as surviving earthworks, providing evidence of the continuity of boundaries in this part of the Wolds over long periods of time.


The monument includes a Bronze Age bowl barrow, an Iron Age square barrow and an adjacent cross-dyke situated on the crest of Leavening Wold. The monument is one of a group of prehistoric sites in the vicinity of Aldro Farm. The bowl barrow is one of a group of seven barrows near Aldro Wood, all partially excavated by J R Mortimer in 1868 after the mounds were partially levelled for agricultural purposes and, despite this alteration, the below-ground remains of a central burial, the ancient landsurface beneath the mound and an encircling ditch were recorded. Although no longer apparent as an upstanding earthwork, the buried ditch, having an external diameter of 22m, is still visible on aerial photographs. The square barrow lies about 10m to the north-east of the bowl barrow. It is not visible as a surface feature and was not noted by Mortimer but the below- ground remains of its rectangular ditch have been identified on aerial photographs. The external dimensions of the barrow are 15m by 10m. The cross-dyke includes a ditch which, although infilled, is visible on aerial photographs and runs westwards from the top of Birdsall Wold, passing between the group of bowl barrows at Aldro Wood, continuing down Leavening Wold. The ditch passes adjacent to the two barrows in this monument, lying about 10m north of the edge of the bowl barrow and touching the north-west side of the square barrow. The ditch is estimated to be 5m wide and the sides will have had banks formed from the excavated earth, although these have been levelled and are no longer visible as earthworks. The buried ditch is included in the scheduling where it lies adjacent to the barrows.

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: 20464

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905)
RCHME (York) unpublished survey, 1971,
Stoetz, K., RCHME unpublished survey,

End of official listing