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Yorkshire Archaeological Reports - 1

The excavations of Seven Bronze Age Barrows on the Moorlands of North-East Yorkshire
by T.C.M. Brewster & A.E. Finney (1995)

Vast numbers of barrows survive on the North York Moors, but probably more were destroyed when the open moorland was cultivated in the nineteenth century and again in the World Wars.

Of the barrows on the Moors investigated in the twentieth century, few have been published. Two of the series excavated by Brewster have already been reported, i.e. Wykeham Moor and Irton Moor I (Brewster, 1973). The sites reported in this volume complement the unpublished neighbouring sites in Irton Moor dug by D.G. Coombs and D.D.A. Simpson. The important series of barrows on Broxa, Silpho and Suffield Moors excavated in the later 1940s by W.H. Mamplough and J.R. Lidster, still remain to be published.

This report records excavations by the late T.C.M. Brewster of seven Early Bronze Age Barrows in N.E. Yorkshire, one in the Whitby area, the others on the Tabular Hills inland from Scarborough, between 1961 and 1972. Two had been badly disturbed and another was incompletely recorded. All sites were threatened by cultivation.

Pre-barrow activity took place during the 3rd millennium BC at two barrows (Sawdon Moor).

All barrows gave evidence of two or three phases of construction and six had peripheral kerbs. Barrow construction spans the Early Bronze Age 2000-1400 BC, and burial associations with Food Vessel and Collared Urns accompanying successive phases of mound construction. Radiocarbon dates were obtained for some burial and constructional phases.

Pollen analyses from barrow structures and old land surfaces generally showed a deforested health moorland when the barrows were built. Detailed evaluations of flint artefacts, pottery and human bones are given in specialist reports.

At the time of T.C.M. Brewster’s death in July 1984 reports in draft had been completed with the illustrations for Sawdon Moor, Gnipe Howe and Hutton Buscel Moor Barrow 2. This report has been completed, by Miss A.E. Finney and the staff of the East Riding Archaeological Research Committee.

The finds are deposited in Scarborough Museum, the British Museum and Whitby Museum.