Acklam Wold barrow group: a pair of bell barrows and a bowl barrow 200m south-west of Acklam Wold House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011547

Date first listed: 02-Sep-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Oct-1993


Ordnance survey map of Acklam Wold barrow group: a pair of bell barrows and a bowl barrow 200m south-west of Acklam Wold House
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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: Acklam

National Grid Reference: SE 79622 62126


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows (particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.

Bell barrows are rare in the north of England and, although the examples on Acklam Wold have been partially altered by agricultural activity, they are still visible as earthworks. The bell barrows were also comparatively well- documented during campaigns of fieldwork in the 19th century. Associated with the bell barrows is a bowl barrow, a slightly earlier and much more common form of burial mound; the bowl barrow mound has been levelled by agricultural activity but is identifiable as a soil mark and the buried quarry ditch is visible on aerial photographs. Further evidence of the structure of the mounds, the surrounding ditches and the burials will survive. The monument is one of a closely associated group of barrows which have further associations with broadly contemporary boundary earthworks in the vicinity of Acklam 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.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a pair of bell barrows, contained within a single outer ditch, and a separate but adjacent bowl barrow. A number of other barrows are situated on the crest of Acklam Wold. Although altered by agricultural activity, the bell barrows are still visible as mounds; each is 1m high and 30m in diameter. The mounds are surrounded by quarry-ditches 21m in diameter, although these have become buried by gradual spreading of the mound material, they have been identified on aerial photographs. The photographs also show that the barrows were both contained by an outer ditch which forms a kidney-shaped enclosure externally measuring 60m east-west by 30m north-south. The bell barrows were recorded and partially excavated in 1849 by Wm Proctor of the York Antiquarian Club and in 1877 by J R Mortimer. The western barrow contained six adult skeletons buried in a 1.2m deep T-shaped grave; the eastern contained five burials, including two children, and its mound contained fragments of freestone whose nearest source is at the foot of the Wold near Acklam Village. The third barrow lies to the north of the bell barrows and, although altered by agricultural activity, the mound is visible as a patch of chalky soil 18m in diameter surrounded by a 5m wide ring of dark soil marking the location of its infilled quarry ditch. The barrow is also visible on aerial photographs. This burial mound was not recorded in the 19th century and it may have been leveled in antiquity, during the construction of the bell barrows. The fence crossing the eastern bell barrow is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath the fence is included.

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: 20551

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905), 86-7
Stoertz, K, (1992)

End of official listing