The monument includes an Anglo Saxon burial mound, or hlaew, on Heslington Hill, 150m north west of the Morrell Library building of the University of York.
The monument is situated on the top of a natural hill, and includes a large circular mound measuring approximately 30m in diameter and up to 6m high. Although it has never been excavated, it is interpreted as a burial mound of
the Saxon period owing to its large size, and its overall likeness to Lamel Hill, another large Saxon tumulus nearby, which contained the cremated remains of 300 bodies within a single urn.
There is no visible evidence of a surrounding ditch, which will have been infilled through the course of time but will survive as a buried feature. The modern post and wire fencing which surrounds the modern water tower on
Heslington Hill immediately to the north west of the monument, is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.
A hlaew is a burial monument of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date and comprising a hemispherical mound of earth and redeposited bedrock constructed over a primary burial or burials. These were usually inhumations, buried in a grave
cut into the subsoil beneath the mound, but cremations placed on the old ground surface beneath the mound have also been found. Hlaews may occur in pairs or in small groups; a few have accompanying flat graves. Constructed
during the pagan Saxon and Viking periods for individuals of high rank, they served as visible and ostentatious markers of their social position. Some were associated with territorial claims and appear to have been specifically located to mark boundaries. They often contain objects which give information on the range of technological skill and trading contacts of the period. Only between 50 and 60 hlaews have been positively identified in England. As a rare monument class all positively identified examples are considered worthy of preservation.
Siwards How survives in good condition and, as there is no evidence that it has ever been excavated, it will contain a full and undisturbed archaeological record of its construction, together with related burials and grave goods.