From Willy Howe we headed to the gorgeous village of Wold Newton. Here the Gypsey Race flows freely and indeed supports a rather nice duck pond in the centre of the village. Our plan was to find the Wold Newton Barrow otherwise known as Ba'l Hill, a place identified in the TMA but only marked down as 'tumulus' on the OS map. Finding it was not hard. It lies in a field on the outskirts of the village it can be easily reached by going through a gate at the end of the street and following the race all of 50 yards to it. The Hill is not spectacular but I enjoyed being here much more than Willy Howe. The race in full flow and in such close proximity made it a bit more special. I could have done with taking a rest and enjoying a cup of tea of its summit however that would have involved forward thinking and I'm not great with that. From the top of the mound, its neighbour Willy Howe's tree covered summit can easily be seen.
Ba'l Hill is smaller than Willy Howe, but seems to have suffered less. It's not cluttered with trees and shrubs like Willy, so you can easily climb it and then get a good 360 degree view of the surroundings (unlike atop Willy). Willy is clearly visible in the distance. The mass of farmhouses and fences spoils the atmosphere a bit, but it's still a cool place. It's all pasture land, and on my first visit it was covered in sheep, who fled at me and my brother's approach. My second visit found around 5 large bulls, who refused me entry, and i was thankful for my zoom lense.
After Willy Howe I found Ba'l Hill a bit of a let-down. It was fairly small compared to Willy and Duggleby. We have mounds this size on the North York Moors.
I couldn't really see it's place in the landscape.
Coolest of names, but left me confused.
A round barrow of Neolithic origin excavated in 1894 by Mortimer. At the time, it was 83 feet in diameter and 12 feet high. Apparently the top had been flattened and its circumference increased by "rabbit diggers, &c.", according to Mortimer, who suggested that its original dimensions had been a maximum 75 feet diameter and 15 to 18 feet in height. In the early 1990s, the mound was steep-sided, 2.75 metres high and circa 40 metres in diameter, surrounded by a ditch surviving as a slight depression on the northeast side, but apparently visible on air photographs as a concentric segmented cropmark. Excavation showed the inner core of the mound to comprise peaty soil, with an outer covering of white chalk gravel. 18 feet south-southeast of the centre, laid onthe original surface, were the remains of 5 skeletons, some at least representing crouched inhumations. The skull and bones of a pig were with them, and some Neolithic potsherds were nearby. 25 to 30 feet west of the centre was an arc of shallow slots, each circa 6 feet long, up to 18 inches wide and 10 inches deep. No artefacts were in the fills. Above the ground surface, within the inner mound, were further burials. 7 feet southeast of the centre were the remains of a cremated child, and nearby were 2 unburnt skull fragments (from an adult). 9 feet east of the centre was a crouched inhumation with a leaf arrowhead by the pelvis. Just east of the centre was another cruched inhumation. Other finds recovered, presumably all from within the mound, include a sandstone pounder, a number of flints, potsherds, animal remains and a red deer antler, as well as large quantities of frog and toad remains.
Ba'l Hill has been dated to the Neolithic, so it is unusual in that it is a very early round barrow. Like the extremely close Willy Howe it lies right next to the Gypsey Race stream. Unlike Willy Howe it did contain burials. (Burl suggests that Ba'l Hill (or Wold Newton, as he refers to it) is another Silbury-style mound with no primary burial, but the EH record disagrees, as seen below).
According to the Scheduled Monument EH record, the mound was investigated by J R Mortimer in 1894. He found the cremated remains of a child at its centre and the skeletons of 3 adults, a child and a young adult on the original ground surface. Another skeleton of a woman was accompanied by a newly-made flint arrowhead.
There was also a pig skull and bones, and fragments from Neolithic food vessels. Also discovered were bones from dogs, wolves, grouse, Irish elk, goats, oxen, and deer, as well as frogs, toads, and water voles. Quite an intriguing menagerie, you'll agree. Were they all things people had eaten or could some be animals whose remains had been there already naturally? (and isn't an Irish Elk one of those extinct beasts with the ludicrous antlers?). Or maybe some are neither, but bones/meat deliberately placed inside for some 'ritual' reason. Hmm.