A bowl barrow on Birdsall Wold, 475m north-west of Vessey Pasture Farm, incorporating part of a linear boundary
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007575
Date first listed: 17-Jan-1994
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Mar-2019 at 01:26:53.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: North Yorkshire
District: Ryedale (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SE 82155 62941
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 and linear boundary have been partially altered by agricultural activity, below-ground remains of the barrow, including its ditch and the contents of grave pits, and the buried ditch of the boundary will survive intact. 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 and part of an adjacent prehistoric linear
boundary which runs along the crest of Birdsall Wold. This is one of a number
of prehistoric monuments on Birdsall Wold.
Although altered by agricultural activity and no longer identifiable as a
surface feature, the circular outline of a buried ditch surrounding the barrow
is visible on aerial photographs and has an overall diameter of 12m. Below-
ground features, such as the ditch and the contents of burial pits, are
thought to survive and, because this barrow has not been excavated, its
primary central burial is thought to remain intact.
Aerial photographs also show an infilled ditch running east-west at a tangent
to the northern edge of the barrow. This ditch is part of a linear boundary
which runs for about 1.7km along the crest of Birdsall Wold. The ditch is no
longer visible as an earthwork but it will survive below-ground; it is
estimated to be at least 5m wide and will have been flanked by banks comprised
of the excavated earth. A 12m length of the boundary adjacent to the barrow is
included in the scheduling.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 3 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: 20486
Legacy System: RSM
Stoetz, K., RCHME 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