Three round barrows 600m NW of Steeple Cross
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 27-Oct-2020 at 03:49:18.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- North Yorkshire
- Hambleton (District Authority)
- National Park:
- NORTH YORK MOORS
- National Grid Reference:
- SE 48871 90395
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
Despite limited disturbance two of the barrows have survived well. The third barrow is only just visible as a shallow ditch. Significant information about the original form, burials placed within both mound and ditch, and evidence of earlier land use beneath the mounds will be preserved. They are part of a group of barrows clustered on this part of the Hambleton Hills thought to mark a prehistoric boundary. They are associated with later prehistoric linear eathworks. Similar groups of monuments are also known across the north and central areas of the North York Moors providing important insight into burial practice. Such groupings of 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 two round barrows 70m apart orientated east-west and a
further smaller barrow 30m to the south, situated in a prominent position on
the west edge of the Hambleton Hills overlooking the Vale of the Ure. They lie
in close proximity to a series of prehistoric linear earthworks in this area.
Two of the barrows remain as clearly visible earthworks. Only a slight
depression indicating the position of the ditch around the third barrow
The western barrow has a well defined flat topped earth and stone mound
standing 0.9m high. It is round in shape and is 10.7m in diameter. This mound
has been dug into in the past leaving a slight hollow. This mound is
surrounded by a ditch up to 3m wide which has become partially filled in over
the years and is visible as a slight hollow 0.1m-0.2m deep.
The eastern barrow has a large well defined flat topped mound standing 2.2m
high. It is round in shape and is 23m in diameter. An excavation by Canon
Greenwell in 1877 found two cremations, one within an urn, and various flint
artefacts. Also uncovered was a platform of birch branches beneath the mound.
This has left an exposed trench on the north western flank. The mound is
encircled by a ditch 2.5m wide and 0.45m deep.
The third barrow lies 28m south of the eastern barrow. A shallow ditch 0.3m
wide encloses an area 6m across. Usually a barrow mound would be enclosed
within the ditch; in this instance the nature of the mound, if it existed, is
uncertain. One interpretation is that burials were placed in the ground within
the ditch without being significantly marked above ground.
This monument is one of many similar examples on this area of the Hambleton
Hills. Many of these lie in closely associated groups, particulary along the
watersheds. They provide evidence of territorial organisation marking
divisions of land, divisions which still remain as some parish or township
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
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. BAR 104, (1993)
Kinnes, IA and Longworth, IH, Catalogue of the excavated material in the Greenwell collection, Catalogue of Excavated Material in the Greenwell Collection, (1985)
Pacitto, A L, F M Warden memo, (1982)
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