Ancient Monuments

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Cross ridge dyke on Morgan's Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4038 / 51°24'13"N

Longitude: -1.9559 / 1°57'21"W

OS Eastings: 403163.706376

OS Northings: 167194.500818

OS Grid: SU031671

Mapcode National: GBR 3VM.Y25

Mapcode Global: VHB43.1ZV7

Entry Name: Cross ridge dyke on Morgan's Hill

Scheduled Date: 13 November 1972

Last Amended: 31 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014033

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21900

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Bishops Cannings

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Bishop's Cannings and Etchilhampton St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes a 560m long section of a cross ridge dyke situated on
Morgan's Hill. The dyke runs from NNW to SSE across the east-west aligned
ridge, dividing Morgan's Hill into two parts.
The dyke has a bank c.8m wide and up to 1.5m high. To the east of the bank
lies an 8m wide ditch which provided material for its construction and
enhanced the effectiveness of the boundary. This has been partly infilled
by cultivation but is open to a depth of 0.3m in places, and is visible on
aerial photographs. The bank and ditch are interrupted by a number of openings
through which animals and people could pass. It is not clear how many of these
are original.
A further section of the dyke, situated to the south is crossed by the
Wansdyke which is later in date. This further section is the subject of a
separate scheduling. Excluded from the scheduling are the post and wire fences
which cross it and run along its length, although the ground beneath 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

A small number of areas in southern England appear to have acted as foci for
ceremonial and ritual activity during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age
periods. Two of the best known and earliest recognised, with references in the
17th century, are around Avebury and Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a
World Heritage Site. In the Avebury area, the henge monument itself, the West
Kennet Avenue, the Sanctuary, West Kennet long barrow, Windmill Hill
causewayed enclosure and the enigmatic Silbury Hill are well-known. Whilst the
other Neolithic long barrows, the many Bronze Age round barrows and other
associated sites are less well-known, together they define one of the richest
and most varied areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and ritual
monuments in the country.

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 reused
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. Comparatively few have survived to the present day and hence all
well-preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.
The cross dyke on Morgan's Hill survives well and will contain archaeological
and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in
which it was built.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
SU 06 NW 021, R.C.H.M.(E), Cross dyke on Morgan's Hill, (1975)
SU06NW 659, C.A.O., Linear ditch, (1975)

Source: Historic England

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