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Square barrow on Silpho Moor 680m SSE of Breckenhurst

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Square barrow on Silpho Moor 680m SSE of Breckenhurst

List entry Number: 1019472


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Silpho


Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 24-Nov-2000

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 34539

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Square barrows are funerary monuments of the Middle Iron Age, most examples dating from the period between c.500 BC and c.50 BC. The majority of these monuments are found in the area 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 barrow cemeteries have been recorded; in addition, a further 250 sites consisting of single barrows or small groups of barrows have been identified. Square barrows, which may be square or rectangular, 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. 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 burial 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. 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 of national importance and worthy of protection.

The square barrow on Silpho Moor 680m SSE of Breckenhurst is a rare example of this type of barrow surviving as an upstanding earthwork, and it will preserve a range of evidence within and upon the flat-topped mound which does not survive on the plough-flattened examples elsewhere. It is one of only a few to be identified on the Hackness Hills, although there is a greater concentration on the Tabular Hills to the south west. The Hackness square barrows form an important group of this monument type which will provide a valuable insight into cultural development during the Iron Age. Despite limited disturbance, this barrow has survived well.Information about the original form of the barrow, the burials placed beneath it and any rituals associated with its construction and use will be preserved. Evidence for earlier land use and the contemporary environment will also survive beneath the barrow mound and within the buried ditch. The barrow is part of a group of six round and square barrows. The spatial and chronological relationships between the two types of barrow are of considerable importance for understanding the development of later prehistoric society in eastern Yorkshire.


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


The monument includes a square barrow situated in a prominent position on a gentle south west facing slope, towards the north eastern scarp edge of the Hackness Hills. The barrow has a well-defined flat-topped earth and stone mound which stands up to 1.1m high. It is sub-square in plan with a side measuring 10m, oriented north to south. Partial excavation in the past has left an irregular hollow at the north east corner. There is also a small pit from a previous excavation on the west side of the mound, the spoil from which has been deposited to the immediate west of the mound. The mound was originally surrounded by a ditch up to 2m wide but this has become infilled over the years by soil slipping from the mound and it is no longer visible as an earthwork feature. The barrow lies in an area where there are many other prehistoric burial monuments.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. 87, (1993)
Title: Forestry Commission Areas North York Moors Archaeological Survey Source Date: 1992 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: site 3.51

National Grid Reference: SE 96163 94235


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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 - 1019472 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 20-Jan-2018 at 10:39:12.

End of official listing