Bowl barrow 150m NNE of Towthorpe High Barn
- 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 19-Oct-2019 at 08:54:48.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SE 88907 63978
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
The monument is one of a closely associated group of barrows within and adjacent to the Towthorpe Plantation. The location of the modern county boundary near this line of barrows offers important insight into the antiquity of land divisions in this region.
Despite part excavation by J R Mortimer in 1863 and again in 1867, and the effects of ploughing over many years, the barrow still survives as a slight visible mound, and will contain further burials, and archaeological information relating to its construction.
The monument includes a bowl barrow situated in a field 150m north east
of Towthorpe High Barn. The monument is one of a group of seven barrows
surviving in this area, five of which lie in a line along the county boundary
300m to the north.
Although altered over the years by agricultural activity which has spread the mound, the barrow is still visible as a slight mound up to 0.3m high, and 24m in diameter. It is surrounded by a ditch up to 3m wide, which although infilled by ploughing and now no longer visible at the ground level, will survive as a buried feature.
The monument was originally part of a much larger group of 21 barrows, recorded by J R Mortimer as stretching for 7km from Wharram in the west nearly as far as Sledmere in the east, and itself forms part of a chain of barrows extending along the line of the ancient greenway now known as the Wolds Way, from Aldro to Sledmere.
The monument was excavated twice by J R Mortimer in 1863, and again in 1867. During the first excavation, an interment, much disturbed by contemporary ploughing, was found a little below the surface in the centre of the mound, consisting of a skull and some long bones. A short way below this a second interment was found, and a third below the second on the floor of the grave. The second and third bodies had been interred flexed, with their heads to the west. To the south of the three main burials, four child burials were found near the base of the mound, consisting of four small skulls together with other bones. Three more adult skeletons were found to the west, a little beneath the base of the mound, two of which had chalk breccia placed near their heads. These lay with their heads to the north west, excepting one who had been placed with the head laying in the opposite direction. No traces of any grave offerings were found with these interments.
The barrow was again excavated by Mortimer in 1867, who on this occasion found another flexed burial 3m north east of the centre, lying on its right side with head to the south. The much decayed remains of a child's body were found 3m to the south west of the centre, accompanied by a food vessel placed rim down, the only burial offering found in the monument.
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), 8
Bastow, M.E., AM107, (1989)
Craster, OE, AM7, (1966)
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)
Pacitto, A.L., AM107, (1985)
Walker, J., AM12, (1980)
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