Ancient Monuments

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Section of the Cleave Dyke system 45m east of the visitors' centre at Sutton Bank

A Scheduled Monument in Cold Kirby, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2409 / 54°14'27"N

Longitude: -1.2084 / 1°12'30"W

OS Eastings: 451685.006849

OS Northings: 483094.399817

OS Grid: SE516830

Mapcode National: GBR NM0D.5H

Mapcode Global: WHD8K.DNSP

Entry Name: Section of the Cleave Dyke system 45m east of the visitors' centre at Sutton Bank

Scheduled Date: 7 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012745

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26926

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Cold Kirby

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Upper Ryedale

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a section of the Cleave Dyke system, a prehistoric
linear boundary system on the Hambleton Hills.
Orientated north to south, this section of the dyke extends for 245m, lying
between a coniferous plantation and a modern road. The monument comprises a
buried ditch, low bank and a pit alignment lying beneath a modern earth
rampart. The line of the dyke is recorded as an earthwork on the OS map and
the monument is known to have been an extant earthwork in 1976. The current
upstanding earthwork is, in the most part, a relatively recent formation
created during the construction of the car park and visitors' centre during
the 1980's. Excavations undertaken in 1989 prior to the construction of the
road revealed the presence of a ditch, recently infilled pits, and a low
embankment following the line of the Cleave Dyke, preserved beneath the modern
Where revealed by excavation, the ditch is 2m wide and 0.5m deep. The full
extent of flanking banks, where exposed by excavation, could not be determined
but it is considered that these are up to 5m wide and 0.75m high. Excavations
at the northern end revealed two pits, 1.5m across, which appear to have been
filled in recently. This continues the alignment of the dyke system at this
end of the monument. The monument terminates at both ends at modern roads. The
dyke continues beyond both these roads in a plantation, in which it is
preserved as an earthwork.
This monument is part of a wider system of prehistoric linear earthworks
continuing for 9km north-south along the western edge of the Hambleton Hills.
Shorter east-west earthworks linked valley heads to the main dyke and thus
divided the terrain into discrete units for agricultural and social purposes.
The dyke is associated with earlier round barrows which also marked the
division of land.
Together the monuments on this area of the Hambleton Hills provide important
evidence of territorial organisation and the development of settled
agricultural practices.

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

The Cleave Dyke system is the most westerly of a series of dyke systems on the
Tabular Hills of north east Yorkshire. The name has been given to a series of
linear ditches and banks stretching north-south over 9km parallel with and
close to the western scarp of the Hambleton Hills. The system was constructed
between the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age to augment the natural division
of the terrain by river valleys and watersheds. Significant stretches remain
visible as upstanding earthworks; elsewhere it can be recognised as a cropmark
on aerial photographs. The system formed a prehistoric territorial boundary in
an area largely given over to pastoralism; the impressive scale of the
earthworks displays the corporate prestige of their builders. In some
instances the boundaries have remained in use to the present day. Linear
boundaries are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and
land use in the later prehistoric period; all well preserved examples will
normally merit statutory protection.

Excavations at the northern part of this section of the Cleave Dyke system
revealed two pits, 1.5m across which appeared to have been filled in recently.
These are thought to be part of a pit alignment, a feature common to many
sections of the Cleave Dyke system. These served as a marker for the
alignment of the dyke and may in places have substituted for the dyke itself
and served as territorial markers. This section of the Cleave Dyke system is
preserved beneath a modern embankment. Significant remains are preserved which
will retain important information about the original form and function of the
earthwork. As part of a major boundary system the monument offers important
scope for the study of the division of land for social, ritual and
agricultural purposes in different geographical areas during the prehistoric

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
CDA, , Cleave Dyke System, (1876)
Vyner, B, Cleave Dyke at Sutton Bank Car Park, (1989)
Spratt, D A , 'The Archaeological Journal' in The Cleave Dyke System, (1982), 33-52
Spratt, D A , 'The Archaeological Journal' in The Cleave Dyke System, (1982), 33-52

Source: Historic England

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