Ancient Monuments

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Linear earthwork at Harker Mires

A Scheduled Monument in Grinton, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.3723 / 54°22'20"N

Longitude: -1.9419 / 1°56'30"W

OS Eastings: 403871.844125

OS Northings: 497426.994309

OS Grid: SE038974

Mapcode National: GBR GKWW.CD

Mapcode Global: WHB5C.4CKF

Entry Name: Linear earthwork at Harker Mires

Scheduled Date: 30 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012617

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24546

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Grinton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Details

The linear earthwork extends along the crest of a slight WNW to ESE orientated
ridge above Grinton Gill on Harkerside Moor. It is some 356m in length, the
eastern edge being on the top of the natural ravine of Grinton Gill, the
western end stopping abruptly east of Harker Mires. It includes a substantial
rampart, ditched on its south side and with a slight counterscarp bank, barely
discernible in places, on the south side of the ditch. The ditch has a maximum
depth of 2m and a maximum width of 7m. The rampart reaches a maximum height of
1.5m above ground level, and a maximum width of 8m. Both the rampart and the
counterscarp are heather covered with the base of the ditch largely filled
with reeds and other water tolerant plants, due to water logging at certain
times of the year. Quantities of loose stone from the rampart have fallen down
into the base of the ditch particularly at the eastern extent of the monument.
The earthwork has been bisected centrally by the intersection of a
trackway and footpath. Here the ditch has been filled in and a section of the
rampart approximately 5m wide has been carved out and a wider section, up to
12m wide, of the counterscarp has been demolished. Here also the stream
emerges from the surrounding marshes and flows via the ditch into the steep
sided ravine.
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 modern fence crossing the monument is excluded from the scheduling
although the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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

Sources

Books and journals
Laurie, T C, 'British Archaeological Reports British Series' in Early Land Division and Settlement in Swaledale, , Vol. 143, (1985), 135-162

Source: Historic England

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