One of four round barrows known as Robin Hood's Butts and adjacent enclosed Bronze Age urnfield, 530m north east of Black Beck Swang
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1020349
Date first listed: 03-Jul-1964
Date of most recent amendment: 04-Feb-1999
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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)
National Park: NORTH YORK MOORS
National Grid Reference: NZ 71029 11417
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
Excavation of other round barrows in the region has 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 located on or below the original ground surface, often with secondary burials 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 circular enclosure is identified as an enclosed Bronze Age urnfield. These are burial grounds in which cremations, usually placed in cinerary urns, were interred within a circular enclosure up to 30m in diameter. The enclosures were formed by either a bank, a ditch or a bank within a stone circle, normally, but not always with an entrance or causeway to provide access. Sometimes the enclosure also contains a standing stone or central mound. Excavated examples are known to date to the Middle Bronze Age between the 16th and 11th centuries BC. They are largely found in the north of England; mainly in Yorkshire, Cumbria and Northumberland, extending into Scotland. They are a rare form of Bronze Age burial monument, with fewer than 50 identified examples, and provide an important insight into beliefs and social organisation during this period. All positively identified examples are considered to be nationally important. Although partly excavated, the round barrow 530m north east of Black Beck Swang will retain important archaeological information, including additional secondary burials. The adjacent enclosed urnfield is very well preserved and an important example of this rare form of Bronze Age funerary monument. The close proximity of the barrow and the urnfield means that information about the relationship between the two forms of burial monuments will be preserved.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric burial
mound and an adjacent circular embanked enclosure identified as an enclosed
urnfield on the eastern side of Gerrick Moor. Two barrows 190m and 380m to the
east and a third, across the county boundary, 460m to the WNW are also called
Robin Hood's Butts and are all the subjects of separate schedulings.
The round barrow is intravisible with the others in the group and is sited on
slightly sloping ground on the southern side of a broad WSW to ENE ridge. The
barrow is an approximately 10m diameter mound standing up to 0.8m high. It was
partly excavated by Canon Atkinson in 1862 who described it as being 37 feet
in diameter and 2.75 feet high, very similar in size to the mound still
standing. Atkinson recorded that he dug a trench from the north side of the
mound to its centre. Evidence of this can now be seen as an irregular hollow
and a spread of now overgrown spoil on the west side of the mound. Atkinson
found that the barrow was constructed of sand over a cairn of loose stones and
included two spreads of charcoal. Two Bronze Age urns of different designs
were also uncovered. The first was inverted in a patch of sand and charcoal
less than 40cm below the surface of the mound. It was unprotected by stonework
and was filled with burnt bone, including two splinters of burnt flint. Close
to this urn was a piece of reddish flint described as a blunt javelin head.
The second urn was on the west side of the centre of the mound, surrounded by
stones, and was inverted over a hole cut into the original ground surface
beneath the mound. This hole was circular, 23cm in diameter and up to 33cm
deep. It contained charcoal and two pieces of stone, one described as a
splinter from a quartz hammer or axe, and the other as a very rude arrow head
of porphyry. Both urns are in the British Museum's collection.
There is no ditch visible surrounding the barrow, although excavation of other
barrows has shown that even where no encircling depression is discernible on
the modern ground surface, ditches immediately around the outside of barrows
frequently survive as infilled features containing additional archaeological
The enclosure is centred just over 20m to the south east of the barrow. It is
formed by a substantial bank describing a rough unbroken circle 18m crest to
crest north-south and 16.5m east-west. The bank is very regular, typically
6.5m wide and 0.8m high, with its eastern side slightly spread up to nearly 8m
wide. The interior has a regular dished appearance, but is not lower than the
surrounding ground surface outside the bank. There is a single boulder set
against the inside of the bank to the south west, but no other stone is
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: 30190
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing