Loose Howe round barrow


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018989

Date first listed: 24-Oct-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Loose Howe round barrow
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1018989 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 18-Nov-2018 at 04:26:10.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Rosedale East Side


National Grid Reference: NZ 70220 00835


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.

Excavations of round barrows in the region have shown that they demonstrate a 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. Loose Howe is a good example of a North York Moors round barrow. It is of particular importance because of its documented excavation and the discovery of a number of rare artifacts, including the coffin. The barrow was only partly excavated and well over half of the mound survives undisturbed.


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


The monument includes buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric burial mound 150m north east of the road from Rosedale Abbey to the head of Rosedale. The round barrow is prominently located, 30m north of the break of slope defining the southern edge of a hilltop. This hilltop forms part of the central watershed of the North York Moors. The barrow was investigated by H and F Elgee in 1937. They excavated a 2.5m wide east-west trench through the centre of the mound with a second 2.5m wide trench extending from the centre southwards. The barrow was found to be constructed with layers of sand and turf with a surface covering of large stones around its flanks, leaving an area clear of stones 6.7m in diameter centred on the top of the barrow. The edge of the barrow was defined by a kerbing of large upright stones with a slight outer ditch 0.6m wide and a further ring of stones beyond. About 3m from the centre of the barrow there was part of a coffin 2.5m by 0.6m. Close by, to the north west, was a carefully constructed canoe 2.75m long. The coffin also had a cover 2.7m long which resembled the canoe in shape, but did not appear to have originally been properly usable as a boat. All three were hewn from single oak tree trunks and were orientated WSW-ENE. These oak timber finds are all extremely rare and unusual for a prehistoric burial mound. In the coffin was the remains of a body which appeared to have been fully clothed in linen and laid on a bed of rushes, reeds or straw, with its head at the WSW end. Also in the coffin were three flints and, near the body's left hip, part of the blade of a bronze dagger. A disturbed secondary burial, immediately below the surface 0.5m east of the barrow's summit, was also uncovered. This included fragments of an undecorated cremation urn and those of a decorated cup. Along with the associated deposit of cremated bone and charcoal, there was also part of a bronze dagger, a fragment of a trefoil headed bronze pin and a stone battle axe. The barrow survives as a 20m diameter flat topped mound 1.2m high. Slight hollows mark the position of the 1937 trenches, and a low cairn of stones thought to be from the excavation now stands on the north west lip of the barrow.

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: 32648

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994), 66

End of official listing