Round barrow on Upsall Moor known as Mount Pleasant


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018658

Date first listed: 10-Jun-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Dec-1998


Ordnance survey map of Round barrow on Upsall Moor known as Mount Pleasant
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Redcar and Cleveland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Guisborough

National Grid Reference: NZ 55820 16530


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.

Despite limited disturbance, the barrow known as Mount Pleasant survives well. Significant information about the original form of the barrow and the burials placed within it will be preserved. Evidence for earlier land use will also survive beneath the barrow mound. Prehistoric rock art is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland, Durham and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of decoration is the `cup and ring' marking, where expanses of small cup-like hollows are pecked into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more `rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the rings may also exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Pecked lines or grooves can also exist in isolation from cup and ring decoration. Other shapes and patterns also occur, but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups, or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide one of our most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols. Frequently they are found close to contemporary burial monuments and the symbols are also found on portable stones placed directly next to burials or incorporated into burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock art have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed in activities such as quarrying. All positively identified prehistoric rock art sites exhibiting a significant group of designs normally will be identified as nationally important. This barrow is one of several distributed along the northern and eastern periphery of the North York Moors which include decorated cup marked stones. As such it can be dated to the last part of the Neolithic period or Early Bronze Age, earlier than many similar barrows found on the central moorland. It is the only barrow within the old Cleveland county, and one of only a few within the North York Moors and surrounding area known to have had an internal structure.


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


The monument includes a round barrow situated in a prominent position at the western end of the Eston Hills ridge. The barrow has an earth and stone mound standing up to 2m high. It is round in shape and 28m in diameter. In the centre of the mound there is a hollow caused by excavations in the past. Limited excavation by E W Sockett in 1949 showed that the barrow was originally structured around two circles of stones which defined it and supported the mound. The inner circle was 9m in diameter and consisted of walling up to 1m high which included three vertical stone slabs on the north west side and a 2.5m gap on the south west side. The outer circle consisted of a kerb of stones 5m from the edge of the mound. Three stones belonging to the outer circle are visible on the surface of the mound. The 1949 excavation trenches were left open and stones from the inner circle are visible within them, although many are now covered with vegetation. Within the inner circle a large stone decorated with cup and ring marks was found covering sherds of Beaker pottery. Towards the edge of the mound on the east side the remains of a cist were found, consisting of stone slabs set into the mound. This would originally have surrounded a burial and been covered by stone slabs. Some of the vertical slabs are visible but most have been either taken away or buried by soil slipping from the edges of the excavation. The barrow lies in an area of extensive Bronze Age activity which includes a hillfort and many funerary monuments.

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: 31997

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Crawford, G M, Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, (1980)
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994)
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994)
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. 87, (1993)
Vyner, B E, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age activity on the Eston Hills, Cleveland, , Vol. 63, (1991), 25-49

End of official listing