Ancient Monuments

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Cross dyke on Okeford Hill 1km south west of Broughton House

A Scheduled Monument in Shillingstone, Dorset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8857 / 50°53'8"N

Longitude: -2.2619 / 2°15'42"W

OS Eastings: 381669.548791

OS Northings: 109609.950102

OS Grid: ST816096

Mapcode National: GBR 0XM.JXK

Mapcode Global: FRA 664R.QM5

Entry Name: Cross dyke on Okeford Hill 1km south west of Broughton House

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1934

Last Amended: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016689

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31066

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Shillingstone

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Okeford Fitzpaine St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes a cross dyke, 1km south west of Broughton House, curving
across a north east facing spur. It is one of four similar sites situated on
the edge of the plateau, possibly associated with the broadly contemporary
settlement and fields at Ringmoor 1.5km to the south. These other sites are
the subject of separate schedulings.
The dyke has a bank approximately 10m wide and up to 1.8m high, with, on its
southern side, a ditch 9m wide and up to 1.5m deep. The bank and ditch is most
substantial on the crest of the spur becoming slighter down the slopes on each
side. The line of the earthwork kinks towards its eastern end where a gap in
the bank and a causeway across the ditch suggests an entrance which is
possibly not orignal. The parish boundary between Okeford Ftizpaine and
Shillingstone passes through this gap.
Celtic fields have been identified on both sides of the dyke and the Royal
Commission on the Historical Monuments of England recorded that one of the
lynchets is crossed by its bank and cut by its ditch. These fields, no longer
clearly visible on the surface, are not well understood and are not included
in the scheduling.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
these features 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

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.

The cross dyke on Okeford Hill 1km south west of Broughton House is a well
preserved example of its class and will contain archaeological remains
providing information about later prehistoric land use and environment. This
is one of several similar cross dykes around a contemporary settlement
providing an unusual and significant association.

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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