A bowl barrow on Birdsall Wold, 250m north-west of Vessey Pasture Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Jun-2021 at 19:22:26.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- North Yorkshire
- Ryedale (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SE 82389 62907
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 barrow has been partially altered by agricultural activity, it was comparatively well documented during a campaign of fieldwork in the 19th century and below-ground remains will survive. The monument is one 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 bowl barrow situated on the crest of Birdsall Wold,
near the head of Vessey Pasture Dale. The barrow is one of a number of
prehistoric monuments on Birdsall Wold.
Although altered over the years by agricultural activity, the barrow is still
visible as a slight mound 0.3m high and 22m in diameter and a circular ditch,
17m in diameter, from which material was quarried for the construction of the
mound, has been observed on aerial photographs. The ditch has become infilled
over the years and now lies beneath the edge of the mound, which has been
spread slightly by ploughing.
The barrow was recorded and partially excavated by J R Mortimer in 1868. A
central cremated burial, accompanied by several fragments of bronze weapons,
was found and the encircling ditch was recorded as being 2.5m wide by 1m deep.
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)
Stoetz, K., RCHME unpublished survey,
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