Ancient Monuments

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Aldro earthworks: a cross-dyke on Birdsall Wold, 200m west of Brown Moor Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Birdsall, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.049 / 54°2'56"N

Longitude: -0.7688 / 0°46'7"W

OS Eastings: 480706.803606

OS Northings: 462149.655594

OS Grid: SE807621

Mapcode National: GBR RP2M.C9

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.5H59

Entry Name: Aldro earthworks: a cross-dyke on Birdsall Wold, 200m west of Brown Moor Farm

Scheduled Date: 15 January 1931

Last Amended: 27 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007485

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20496

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Birdsall

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Kirby Underdale All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes part of a prehistoric cross-dyke which ran from the
bottom of Brownmoor Dale northwards across the plateau at the western end of
Birdsall Wold. The cross-dyke is one of a number of prehistoric monuments in
the vicinity of Aldro Farm. Although infilled and levelled by cultivation over
most of its length, the southern part of the dyke, as it rises up the north
side of the Dale, is visible as a 6m wide ditch, 0.5m deep and flanked by 0.3m
high banks, having an overall width of 20m.
The continuing course of the ditch has been traced on aerial photographs and
J R Mortimer, who recorded the prehistoric remains in the 19th century, noted
that the ditch was visible as a cropmark.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km
long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or
more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges
and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial
photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and
analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans
the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used
later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial
boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities,
although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or
defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which
illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of
considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the
Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well-
preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

Although altered over most of its length by agricultural activity, the
northern end of the cross-dyke is well preserved. It was part of an extensive
system of prehistoric dykes which has been recorded in the vicinity of
Birdsall Wold and has further associations with other broadly contemporary
monuments of similar type. Parallels are also known from other parts of the
Wolds and from the southern edge of the North York Moors. Such associations
between monuments offer important scope for the study of the division of land
for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in different geographical areas
during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905)
Stoetz, K., RCHME unpublished survey,

Source: Historic England

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