Two round barrows on Three Howes Rigg, 560m SSE of White Cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018768

Date first listed: 17-Mar-1964

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Two round barrows on Three Howes Rigg, 560m SSE of White Cross
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Danby


National Grid Reference: NZ 68102 10247


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.

Excavations of round barrows in the region have shown that they demonstrate a very wide range of burial rites from simple scatters of cremated material to coffin inhumations and cremations contained in urns, typically dating to the Bronze Age. A common factor is that barrows were normally used for more than one burial and that the primary burial was frequently on or below the original ground surface, often with secondary burials located within the body of the mound. Most barrows include a small number of grave goods. These are often small pottery food vessels, but stone, bone, jet and bronze items have also occasionally been found. The two barrows 560m SSE of White Cross on Three Howes Rigg are part of an important group of barrows. They are both relatively well preserved and form a local landmark. The southern barrow with its surrounding platform and inscribed stone is especially unusual and thus has added importance.


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The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the southernmost pair of a line of five prehistoric burial mounds, the other three of which are the subject of separate schedulings. The five barrows are all located on the top of the broad ridge which forms the Rigg to the south of White Cross. The northernmost barrow and the southern pair lie in an approximate north-south line with the remaining two barrows sited 25m-30m to the east of this line. The two round barrows 560m SSE of White Cross are centred 40m apart and lie just west of the road to Castleton from White Cross. The northern barrow is 18m in diameter and 1.7m high with a slightly dished top so that the centre is 0.4m below the highest point. The southern barrow is 17m in diameter sited on slightly sloping ground so that it is 0.5m high on the northern side, 1.5m high on the southern side. It is surrounded by a 6m wide platform defined by a break of slope on the southern and western sides and by a slight ditch on the northern side. The eastern side, along with 1m-2m of the eastern edge of the barrow has been cut by the road. The surrounding platform is included in the scheduling. The top of the barrow has an irregular depression up to 0.6m deep with a small upright stone on its eastern lip. This stone is 0.35m by 0.1m with 0.8m exposed above the ground. The stone is orientated so that the larger faces point roughly east and west, with the west face slightly southwards. The stone is inscribed in three places, each to different depths and weathered to different degrees, implying the inscriptions are of different dates. The earliest inscription is at the top of the west face. This is a design showing a shape like a downward pointing single spiked spur which encloses a plain vertical cross within the U of the spur, with a dot in the top right quadrant of the cross. Both the upper parts of the U and the cross are truncated by the loss of the upper part of the stone. Towards the top of the east face there is a deeply and roughly inscribed date of 1882, and below this is a neatly chiselled bench mark. Excavations of other barrows have shown that shallow ditches immediately encircling the mounds are common, normally surviving as infilled features rather than as earthworks.

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: 30175

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
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)

End of official listing