Ancient Monuments

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Two cross dykes 580m and 610m north east of Wood Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Mere, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1049 / 51°6'17"N

Longitude: -2.2762 / 2°16'34"W

OS Eastings: 380756.1103

OS Northings: 133993.6155

OS Grid: ST807339

Mapcode National: GBR 0TX.MB9

Mapcode Global: VH980.HHHB

Entry Name: Two cross dykes 580m and 610m north east of Wood Farm

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017709

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26863

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Mere

Built-Up Area: Mere

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Mere St Michael the Archangel

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument, which lies within two areas, includes two cross dykes, which
lie across a narrow downland spur 580m and 610m north east of Wood Farm. The
dykes, which are aligned broadly east west, lie approximately 30m apart.
The southern dyke has a prominent ditch with a bank on both sides of it,
terminating abruptly at its eastern end on the steep slope which leads into
Great Bottom. Its western end lies immediately below the crest of the ridge.
The dyke has a maximum width of 23m and the maximum height difference between
the top of the bank and the bottom of the ditch is 2.2m. The overall recorded
length of the dyke is 90m.
The northern dyke at its western end has a ditch with a bank on either side of
it, that to the south of the ditch being wider. The dyke has a maximum width
of 17m and a height difference between the bottom of the ditch and the top of
the bank of 1.35m. On the crest of the ridge the dyke is cut by a trackway
and, to the east of this, only a ditch with a slight northern bank is visible,
the overall width being 12m. The overall recorded length of the dyke is 70m.
All fence posts are 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.

The cross dykes 580m and 610m north east of Wood Farm are well preserved
examples of their class and form an integral part of the formalised later
prehistoric landscape centred on Whitesheet Hill hillfort. In addition they
will contain archaeological remains providing evidence for prehistoric landuse
and environment.

Source: Historic England

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