Three round barrows on Ness Head 750m east of Howlgate Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020399

Date first listed: 29-Jul-1964

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Aug-2001


Ordnance survey map of Three round barrows on Ness Head 750m east of Howlgate Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Levisham


National Grid Reference: SE 82924 88876


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.

The three round barrows on Ness Head 750m east of Howlgate Farm have survived well and significant information about the original construction of the barrows, the burials placed within them and their relationship with other monuments in the area will be preserved. Evidence of earlier land use will also survive beneath the barrow mounds.


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


The monument includes three conjoined round barrows located on the southern end of the promontory known as Ness Head in the southern part of the North York Moors. It is known from archaeological evidence that the southern flanks of the moors were extensively used in the prehistoric period for agricultural and ritual purposes. Remains of these activities survive today. Each barrow has an earth and stone mound. The western mound measures 12m in diameter and is 0.9m high. The central and eastern mounds measure 6m in diameter and are 0.5m in height. The western and central mounds are now separated by a footpath which has worn a gap 2m wide between them. The central and eastern mounds touch. Given the proximity of the mounds it is thought that, unlike other similar monuments in the area, these barrows were not surrounded by a ditch.

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: 34815

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994), 1-23

End of official listing