Ancient Monuments

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Linear earthwork at High Harker Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Grinton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3689 / 54°22'8"N

Longitude: -1.965 / 1°57'54"W

OS Eastings: 402367.876

OS Northings: 497045.1624

OS Grid: SE023970

Mapcode National: GBR GKQX.CM

Mapcode Global: WHB5B.SGG2

Entry Name: Linear earthwork at High Harker Hill

Scheduled Date: 30 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012602

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24560

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Grinton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


This substantial curvilinear earthwork extends across the slopes of High
Harker Hill. The monument falls into two sections separated by a natural steep
scree. The southern section runs across the east facing valley head for a
length of 400m. The southern end terminates at the lip of a steep stream
gulley, its northern end by the start of a steep scree slope. It includes a
substantial earth and stone rampart 2.6m high, a maximum of 13m wide, ditched
on the east side. The ditch has a maximum width of 3.3m and a maximum depth of
5m. At the south end, the earthwork is mainly visible as a substantial scarp
with a slight counterscarp bank 1m high. It is now broken by numerous small
The northern section of earthworks extends for a distance of 260m from the
northern end of the steep scree slope to the top of a steep north facing
slope. The rampart is of similar composition and dimensions to that further
south, and is ditched on the east side. There are traces of a wall surmounting
this section of the rampart, however it is uncertain whether this is original.
The break in the earthworks at the centre of this section maybe original, a
footpath now crosses at this point. The two sections separated by a natural
steep scree slope form an effective barrier against movement from the east.
The earthworks are part of a broader group of probable territorial
boundaries known as the Grinton-Fremington Dyke system. This includes valley
bottom earthworks as well as those in upland locations.

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

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or
multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between
less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features
visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The
evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that
their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although
they may have been re-used later.
The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were
constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries
in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of
their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious
associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those
groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance
for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well
preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

This is an extremely well preserved and substantial monument, which is
likely also to include extensive, environmentally important deposits within
its ditch.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Laurie, T C, 'British Archaeological Reports British Series' in Early Land Division and Settlement in Swaledale, , Vol. 143, (1983), 135-162

Source: Historic England

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