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Section of Cleave Dyke, 1.4km long from Sneck Yate Plantation to east edge of Town's Pasture Wood including two pit alignments and round barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Old Byland and Scawton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2748 / 54°16'29"N

Longitude: -1.2207 / 1°13'14"W

OS Eastings: 450845.230615

OS Northings: 486848.298815

OS Grid: SE508868

Mapcode National: GBR MMX0.JC

Mapcode Global: WHD8C.6TZ8

Entry Name: Section of Cleave Dyke, 1.4km long from Sneck Yate Plantation to east edge of Town's Pasture Wood including two pit alignments and round barrow

Scheduled Date: 31 January 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012746

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26927

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Old Byland and Scawton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes a section of the Cleave Dyke system, a prehistoric
linear boundary on the Hambleton Hills.
Orientated north-south, parallel to the scarp slope, the linear boundary
extends for 1450m south from Sneck Yate Plantation and at the south end
curves sharply west to meet the edge of the scarp. The monument is in part
preserved as a slight ditch but in the other sections, where the earthwork has
been levelled, the infilled ditch and the reduced banks can be traced on
aerial photographs. In two sections there are infilled pit alignments, visible
on aerial photographs, in place of the linear bank and ditch.
At the northern end, the monument is preserved as a ditch measuring 3m wide
with a wide bank to the east up to 7m wide and 0.5m high, extending for 40m
south west through Sneck Yate Plantation. It is no longer visible as an
earthwork in the field south of this, but the line of the buried ditch and
reduced flanking banks are clearly visible on aerial photographs, and are
confirmed by soil resistivity measurements taken in this area, indicating a
ditch between 2m and 5m wide.
This continues for 850m, gives way to an alignment of elongated pits extending
for 100m to the south, then contines for a further 270m, before kinking
sharply and curving to the west to terminate at the scarp slope. A further
alignment of buried prehistoric pits lies adjacent to the dyke where it turns
to the scarp edge. At the north the dyke continues beyond the road as a
cropmark crossing the field. However to the south there is a gap of 600m in
front of Boltby hillfort before the dyke again resumes as a cropmark; this is
regarded as an original break in the dyke system, allowing access into the
hillfort and its environs. Midway along the length of the monument and
slightly to the east, lies a round barrow. This is greatly reduced by
ploughing but is still visible as a low mound 14m in diameter and 0.25m high.
This mound was surrounded by a ditch up to 3m wide which has been filled in
over time and is no longer visible as an earthwork. This section of the dyke
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 surface of the road is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath is included.

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.

Pit alignments date from the late prehistoric period and are a form of
boundary or territorial marker often found in association with other types of
boundary feature. Pits will retain significant archaeological deposits and
provide important information about the environmental conditions of the
prehistoric period. Pit alignments are a feature common to many sections of
the Cleave Dyke, serving as a marker for the alignment of the dyke and may, in
places, have substituted for the dyke itself and served as territorial
markers. Round barrows are Bronze Age funerary monuments containing one or
more human burials and in this area of the North York Moors, are often found
in prominent positions reflecting social and territorial functions. As such
the distribution of some of these barrows is considered as a precursor to the
Cleave Dyke system. Important information about original form, burials within
and earlier land use beneath the mounds will be preserved.
This monument contains an important association of linear boundary, pit
alignments and an earlier round barrow. 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 and their development over time during the prehistoric

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
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
ANY 169/04, (1984)
ANY 65/5; ANY 63/3.7.8.; ANY65/4.5,
RAF 26D 33V, (1932)

Source: Historic England

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