Square barrow 480m north east of Cockmoor Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020757

Date first listed: 24-Jul-2002


Ordnance survey map of Square barrow 480m north east of Cockmoor Hall
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Dec-2018 at 14:51:12.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Snainton


National Grid Reference: SE 91432 86882


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.

Despite limited disturbance, the square barrow 480m north east of Cockmoor Hall has survived well. Significant 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 lower ditch fills.

This barrow is a rare example of a square 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 to the west of Wykeham Forest, where there is a greater concentration. It will provide valuable insight into cultural development during the Iron Age. The barrow lies close to a prehistoric linear boundary and a group of five round barrows. The spatial and chronological relationships between the two types of barrow, and between the barrows and the linear boundary, 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 which is situated in a prominent position towards the northern scarp edge of the Tabular Hills. It lies on level ground which overlooks Troutsdale.

The barrow has a flat-topped earth and stone mound which stands up to 0.8m high. It is sub-square in plan with a side measuring 8m, and is oriented approximately north west to south east. Partial excavation in the past has left a hollow in the centre of the mound. The north western side of the mound has been distorted by animal burrowing. The mound was originally surrounded by a ditch, which is visible as a shallow depression, up to 2m wide and 0.3m deep, around the south western, south eastern and north eastern sides of the mound. The barrow lies in an area where there are many other prehistoric burial monuments, including both round and square barrows, as well as the remains of prehistoric land division.

The boundary fence which runs north east to south west past the south eastern corner of the barrow lies beyond the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 35439

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Northern Archaeological Associates, , North York Moors Forest Survey Phase Two, (1996)
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. 87, (1993)

End of official listing