Square barrow on Westwood Common, 230m NNW of Blackmill

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013998

Date first listed: 21-Jun-1978

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Jan-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Square barrow on Westwood Common, 230m NNW of Blackmill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Beverley

National Grid Reference: TA 02024 39210

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Square barrows are funerary monuments of the Middle Iron Age, most examples dating from the period between c.500 BC and c.50 BC. The majority of these monuments are found in the area between the River Humber and the southern slopes of the North Yorkshire Moors but a wider distribution has also been identified, principally through aerial photography, spreading through the river valleys of the Midlands and south Essex. Around 200 square barrow cemeteries have been recorded; in addition, a further 250 sites consisting of single barrows or small groups of barrows have been identified. Square barrows, which may be square or rectangular, were constructed as earthen mounds surrounded by a ditch and covering one or more bodies. Slight banks around the outer edge of the ditch have been noted in some examples. The main burial is normally central and carefully placed in a rectangular or oval grave pit, although burials placed on the ground surface below the mound are also known. A number of different types of burial have been identified, accompanied by grave goods which vary greatly in range and type. The most elaborate include the dismantled parts of a two-wheeled vehicle placed in the grave with the body of the deceased. Ploughing and intensive land use since prehistoric times have eroded and levelled most square barrows and very few remain as upstanding monuments, although the ditches and the grave pits, with their contents, will survive beneath the ground surface. The different forms of burial and the variations in the type and range of artefacts placed in the graves provide important information on the beliefs, social organisation and material culture of these Iron Age communities and their development over time. All examples of square barrows which survive as upstanding earthworks, and a significant proportion of the remainder, are considered of national importance and worthy of protection.

The monument is one of a closely associated group of prehistoric earthworks on Westwood Common, which includes both square and round barrows, as well as Romano-British enclosures, linear boundary dykes and a short section of Roman road. The group has survived as part of a rare landscape characterised by features dating back as far as the Bronze Age, which has owed its survival to the granting of common grazing rights to the local people of Beverley in the 14th century AD. The survival of such an extensive area of prehistoric earthworks is unusual in this region of East Yorkshire, where arable agricultural practices have resulted in the destruction of many earthwork remains of monuments above ground. It offers important insights into ancient land use and territorial divisions for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in this area, and the development of these through time. The monument is thought to have been been excavated by Canon Greenwell in the 19th century. Despite this suspected part excavation, the barrow will contain further archaeological information relating to its construction, in addition to forming one of a well-defined group of square barrows on the common.

History

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

Details

The monument includes an Iron Age square barrow on Westwood Common, Beverley, 230m NNW of Blackmill. It is one of an important group of prehistoric funerary earthworks surviving together on Westwood Common, which represents a sizeable area of land in which prehistoric earthworks have survived because of the establishment of common grazing rights here in the 14th century AD. The monument is one of an important group of square barrows surviving as upstanding earthworks on Westwood Common, and consists of a low platform no more than 0.2m high and about 8m square, surrounded by a ditch 2m wide. It is possible that the monument was one of the four barrows recorded as having been excavated by Canon Greenwell in 1875, accounting for its rather poor state of preservation. No burial goods were recorded as being found during the excavation.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 26566

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Stead, I M, The Arras Culture, (1979), 98
Other
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)
Mackay, Rodney , (1995)

End of official listing