Two Iron Age round barrows and a Bronze Age round barrow, 340m north east of a triangulation pillar, on Highwood Brow

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017101

Date first listed: 05-Aug-1933

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Jul-2001

Map

Ordnance survey map of Two Iron Age round barrows and a Bronze Age round barrow, 340m north east of a triangulation pillar, on Highwood Brow
© 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.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Wykeham

National Park: NORTH YORK MOORS

National Grid Reference: SE 94666 89068

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Round barrows 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 mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of 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 examples recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in 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.

Square barrow cemeteries are funerary monuments of the middle Iron Age, which contain mainly square barrows but occasionally contain round barrows. They date from the period between c.500 BC and c.50 BC. The majority of these monuments are found 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 barrows have been recorded; in addition, a further 250 sites consisting of single barrows or small groups of barrows have been identified. Square barrows 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. Despite the term `square', barrows can vary in shape. The majority are truly square, although many have rounded corners and some are more rectangular in plan. A few, however, occurring both in square barrow cemeteries and individually, are actually round in plan, but distinguishable from earlier Bronze Age round barrows by their smaller size. 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 burials 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. Some Iron Age barrows have been associated with an unusual burial ritual of `spearing the corpse'. 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 worthy of national importance and worthy of protection. The Tabular Hills in the Wykeham Forest area contain a dense concentration of prehistoric monuments, dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age, which includes field systems, enclosures and land boundaries as well as both round and square barrows. The very large number of burial monuments includes particularly rare examples of square barrows surviving as upstanding earthworks, and these will preserve a range of evidence within and upon the flat-topped mounds which does not survive on the plough-flattened examples elsewhere. The square barrows in this area form an important group of this monument type which will provide valuable insight into cultural development during the Iron Age. The spatial and chronological relationships between the round and square barrows in the Wykeham Forest area, and between both types of barrow and other prehistoric monuments, are of considerable importance for understanding the development of later prehistoric society in eastern Yorkshire. Despite disturbance, the two Iron Age round barrows and a Bronze Age round barrow, 340m north east of a triangulation pillar on Highwood Brow have survived well. Significant information will be preserved about the original form of the barrows and the burials placed within and beneath them. Evidence for earlier land use will also survive beneath the barrow mounds. The barrows belong to a group of at least eight burial monuments spread along the top of Highwood Brow and such clusters provide important insight into the development of ritual and funerary practice during the Bronze and Iron Ages.

History

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

Details

The monument includes two adjacent small Iron Age round barrows and a larger Bronze Age round barrow situated in a prominent position at the top of the north-facing scarp edge of the Tabular Hills. The small barrow to the WNW has an earth and stone mound standing up to 0.4m high. The second small barrow is situated 20m to the ESE. It has an earth and stone mound standing up to 0.7m high. Originally both barrows were round in shape, but forestry ploughing has truncated the edges to give a more irregular outline which is up to 6m across. The larger barrow is situated 35m to the south west. It has an earth and stone mound standing up to 1m high. It is round in shape and measures 14m in diameter. In the centre of the mound and extending to the east there is a hollow caused by excavations in the past. The barrows lie within a dense concentration of prehistoric burial monuments in an area which also includes the remains of prehistoric settlement and land division.

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

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 32501

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Mytum, H, 'Moorland Monuments' in Iron Age square barrows on the North York Moors, , Vol. 101, (1995), 31-37
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, (1993)
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, (1993)

End of official listing