Pit alignment and two round barrows on Ugthorpe Moor, 700m south west of High Park Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Pit alignment and two round barrows on Ugthorpe Moor, 700m south west of High Park Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Scarborough (District Authority)
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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.

A pit alignment is a linear arrangement of fairly closely spaced circular or rectangular holes or pits over 1m in diameter. Some examples are several kilometres long and some occur as part of a more complex linear earthwork including linear ditches, slots, palisades and linear banks. Once dug, the pits were left as open features which eroded and silted up over a period of time. Nearly all pit alignments have been discovered from aerial photography and survive as cropmarks or soil marks. They are largely found in river valleys in central and northern England but they are also common on the Yorkshire Wolds and are found in smaller numbers on other light freely draining soils. Pit alignments probably formed boundaries. Where excavated they usually appear to be prehistoric in date, although examples are also known from the Roman period. All examples surviving as earthworks are considered to merit protection. In the north east part of the North York Moors a distinctive type of pit alignment has been recognised and termed a segmented embanked pit alignment (SEPA). These survive as inconspicuous low earthworks which consist of two or three pairs of pits lying between parallel banks. In some cases several SEPAs are conjoined to give the appearance of a more extensive linear earthwork. The axis of the SEPAs is consistently orientated north west to south east and is often tangential to more prominent Bronze Age round barrows. None of the SEPAs have been excavated to modern standards but they are interpreted as ritual monuments which may have had some function as a boundary. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood but their association with round barrows is taken to indicate a link with funerary activities. All known examples of SEPAs are considered to be of national importance because of their highly localised occurrence, distinctive form and survival as earthworks. Despite limited disturbance, the pit alignment and two round barrows on Ugthorpe Moor, 700m south west of High Park Farm survives well. Significant information about the original form of the monument and the rituals associated with its use will be preserved. Important environmental evidence will survive within the pit fills and evidence for earlier land use will also survive beneath the northern bank. The importance of the two barrows are enhanced by their association with the SEPA. Despite disturbance, evidence for the date and form of the barrows and the burials placed within them will be preserved and evidence for earlier land use will survive beneath the barrow mounds. Unlike many barrows in this area the western barrow has not been excavated. The barrows were originally in a group of at least ten burial monuments, of which there are seven surviving. Such clusters provide important insight into the development of ritual and funerary practice during the Bronze Age.


The monument includes a segmented embanked pit alignment and two round barrows situated on a gentle south east facing slope towards the north edge of the North York Moors. The pit alignment has two pairs of sub circular pits 3m-4m in diameter which lie between parallel banks 15m apart and up to 18m long, running in an east to west direction. Over the years the pit alignment has been filled in and levelled by ploughing and is no longer visible as a distinct earthwork, apart from the northern bank which survives as a low earthwork 4m-6m wide and 0.2m-0.3m high. The pits survive as shallow depressions and vegetation marks, and the southern bank as a barely visible rise. The pit alignment is aligned off centre from a round barrow 20m to the west. The barrow has been spread by ploughing and has an earthen mound up to 35m in diameter and standing up to 0.3m high. The surface is irregular and in the centre there is a hollow caused by excavations in the past. An old cultivation lynchet runs in a north east to south west direction across the south east edge of the mound. The second round barrow lies 65m to the west. It has an earthen mound which has been spread by ploughing and measures 15m in diameter. The mound stands up to 0.4m high. The line of a modern field drain runs north west to south east across the centre of the mound. To the north of the barrow several small pits have been identified from field survey work but these are no longer visible as earthworks, having been filled in and levelled by ploughing over the years. The pit alignment and barrows lie in an area where there are many other ritual and funerary monuments dating to the prehistoric period. All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

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Books and journals
Lofthouse, C A, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Segmented Embanked Pit Alignments in the North York Moors, , Vol. 59, (1993), 383-392
2762.06, (1992)


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

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