Two round barrows 400m south west of West Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020819

Date first listed: 16-Oct-2002


Ordnance survey map of Two round barrows 400m south west of West Farm
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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: Pickering


National Grid Reference: SE 81405 86499


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 protection.

Although partly reduced by agricultural activity, significant archaeological deposits will be preserved within the two round barrows 400m south west of West Farm. It is known from the excavations in 1961 that features were cut into the ground surface below the barrow and that further features will be preserved. The excavations have recovered important evidence of the barrow and that record adds to its importance. The barrows are two of many similar monuments in the immediate area and will preserve important evidence of the ritual use of the landscape. Excavation of other round barrows in the region have 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 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. Excavation has also 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 deposits.


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


The monument includes earthwork and buried remains of a pair of prehistoric round barrows. It is located on high ground in the southern part of the area of land known as Blansby Park, which lies on the southern limestone fringe of the predominantly sandstone North York Moors. It occupies a broad promontory of undulating land defined by the deep valleys of Gundale Beck to the west and Newton Dale to the east and south. Archaeological evidence shows that the land was used intensively in the prehistoric, Roman and medieval periods for agricultural and ritual purposes. Remains of these activities survive today. The two barrows have been reduced by ploughing but can still be identified as prominent rises up to 0.2m high marked by spreads of stone from the barrow mound. Both the barrows are 9m in diameter and are 25m apart from centre to centre. The area between the two mounds is included to preserve the stratigraphic relationship between them. The barrows were partially excavated in 1961 by Messrs Hayes and Rutter. It was discovered that there had been a previous intervention, probably in the mid-19th century when many burial mounds in the area had been opened by Ruddock and Kendal. The excavation of the southernmost mound revealed a shallow hollow cut into the ground surface below the centre of the mound. This measured 2.2m across and was 0.3m deep. Within it were found the remains of eight human burials. A deeper pit some 1.2m deep was also found in the western edge of the mound. The excavation of the northern mound revealed a pit 2m across and 1m deep with a human burial in an urn adjacent to it. Other finds of pottery from urns and pieces of worked flint were also found in the excavations. Despite the excavations being of limited extent the excavators were able to identify certain aspects of the construction of the barrows. The composition of the mounds was mostly stone, predominately the local calcareous grit. It was clear that at these two barrows there was neither an outer ditch or kerbing.

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: 35468

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Rutter, J G, The Excavation of Two Round Barrows in Blansby Park, (1973), 16-19
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994), 1-22124
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994), 1-22125

End of official listing