Ancient Monuments

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Section of cross ridge dyke and earthworks in Roman Plantation, Oulston Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Oulston, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.1667 / 54°10'0"N

Longitude: -1.1378 / 1°8'16"W

OS Eastings: 456386.929583

OS Northings: 474891.311643

OS Grid: SE563748

Mapcode National: GBR NNH8.G3

Mapcode Global: WHD8Z.HJDK

Entry Name: Section of cross ridge dyke and earthworks in Roman Plantation, Oulston Moor

Scheduled Date: 24 May 1951

Last Amended: 23 August 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013438

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26973

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Oulston

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Coxwold St Michael

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a section of triple banked prehistoric cross ridge dyke
extending for 120m north to south, crossed at its northern end by a series of
later banks and ditches. The dyke has two parallel ditches with a central bank
and flanking outer banks. The ditches of the dyke are between 4m and 5m wide
and up to 2m deep. The central bank is up to 15m wide and outer banks 10m each
in width. To the north the dyke is crossed by a series of banks and ditches
orientated north west to south east. Extending for 200m these earthworks are
interpreted as later deer trenches associated with medieval woodland
management. The earthworks include three ditches with intermedial banks and a
further outer bank to the north. The ditches are 2m wide and the banks 3.5m
wide and 1m high. The dyke continued further to the north but the full extent
of its survival has yet to be determined. To the south the dyke is truncated
by the road but continues again 22m beyond this section where it is the
subject of a separate scheduling.
The stone wall crossing the dyke to the south 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

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.

This section of cross dyke is preserved as a prominent earthwork forming a
clear division across the landscape. Significant remains are preserved which
will retain important information about the original form and function of the
earthwork and offers important scope for the study of the division of land for
social, ritual and agricultural purposes in the prehistoric period.
Information on its relationship to the later deer trenches will also be

Source: Historic England


McElvaney, M, Howardian Hills AONB Historic Environment Study, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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