Bowl barrow, 150m south east of Towthorpe Reservoir


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013703

Date first listed: 09-Apr-1964

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Dec-1995


Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow, 150m south east of Towthorpe Reservoir
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 15:28:34.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Fimber

National Grid Reference: SE 88007 63735


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

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 protection.

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 along 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 visible mound, and will contain further burials, and archaeological information relating to its construction.


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


The monument includes a bowl barrow situated in fields 150m south east of Towthorpe Reservoir, east of the B1248, between Wharram-le-Street and Fridaythorpe. The monument is one of a group of seven barrows surviving in this area, five of which lie 300m to the north, in a line along the county boundary.

Although altered over the years by agricultural activity, which has spread the surface of the mound, the barrow is still visible as a low mound up to 0.5m high and up to 30m in diameter. It is surrounded by a ditch up to 3m wide, which although infilled by ploughing and now no longer visible at ground level, will survive as a buried feature.

The monument was originally part of a much larger group of twenty one 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 1865. During the first excavation the remains of much decayed bones of a primary burial were found in the centre of the mound at the base of a lenticular bed of clay. This lay upon ashes, interpreted as the remains of a funeral pyre, below which two food vessels were found standing close together, and a chipped flint. In addition to this, another 12 struck flint flakes together with a small splinter from the cutting edge of a green-stone celt were found. The mound itself was composed of alternate layers of soil, organic and decayed material, with the upper part of the clay core of the mound, reddened after contact with the stratum of wood ashes, presumed to be the remains of the funeral pyre. It is thought that the clay was brought in from Burdale, Wharram-le-Street or Duggleby for the purpose of the burial.

During the second excavation in 1865, a finely worked black flint knife and eight hand struck splinters of similar flint were discovered near the base of the mound. A small thin fragment of bronze was also found.

A north-south directioned modern post and wire fence runs to the west of the monument, and is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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: 26540

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905), 1-3
Bastow, M.E., AM107, (1989)
Charlesworth, D, AM7, (1963)
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)
Pacitto, A.L., AM107, (1985)
Walker, J., AM12, (1980)

End of official listing