Ancient Monuments

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Northern section of prehistoric linear boundary with intersecting hollow ways, known as Rise Dikes, in Wykeham Forest

A Scheduled Monument in Wykeham, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2681 / 54°16'5"N

Longitude: -0.5544 / 0°33'15"W

OS Eastings: 494245.743211

OS Northings: 486788.411892

OS Grid: SE942867

Mapcode National: GBR SMK2.SS

Mapcode Global: WHGBY.GZ7D

Entry Name: Northern section of prehistoric linear boundary with intersecting hollow ways, known as Rise Dikes, in Wykeham Forest

Scheduled Date: 25 October 1968

Last Amended: 13 September 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019368

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33733

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Wykeham

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Brompton-by-Sawdon All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes part of a linear boundary which runs between Sawdon Dale
and Bee Dale, towards the northern edge of the Tabular Hills. It is in two
separate areas of protection. Also included are a series of parallel hollow
ways which cross the boundary.
The linear boundary runs between the top of the steep scarp slopes into Short
Grain at the north east and into Wester Gill at the south west. It survives as
an upstanding earthwork in two segments, between which buried remains also
survive. The north eastern segment is 260m long. It has a ditch, up to 5m wide
and 1.5m deep, which runs between two banks, each up to 3.5m wide and 0.6m
high. The banks are constructed from earth and stone. There are two breaks in
the boundary at the western end of this segment which have been caused by old
tracks. The ditch has been recut in places as a drainage ditch. The south
western segment is 40m long. It has a ditch, up to 4m wide and 0.5m deep,
which runs between two banks. The northern bank is 4m wide and 0.6m high and
the southern bank is 3m wide and 0.3m high. Originally, the south western
segment would have had dimensions similar to those of the north eastern
segment, but over the years the banks have been eroded and the ditch silted up
by soil slipping down the scarp slope. At the eastern end of the south western
segment an unsurfaced track crosses the line of the boundary. Between the two
upstanding segments, the central part of the linear boundary has been ploughed
level and the ditch filled in so that they are no longer visible as earthwork
A series of up to four parallel hollow ways, which merge and run together in
places, crosses the north eastern segment of the linear boundary and breaches
the banks; to the north of the boundary the hollow ways run SSE to NNW for
175m and to the south they run north west to south east for 125m. The hollow
ways are between 3m and 5m wide with a depth of up to 1.5m, and they cover an
area which is up to 25m wide. They are interpreted as braided routes which are
the predecessors of the present Moor Road.
The monument forms part of a network of prehistoric linear boundaries which is
surrounded by a dense concentration of other prehistoric monuments, including
burials and settlement remains.
Moor Road crosses the monument from north west to south east and divides it
into two areas. Two surfaced trackways also cross the monument: one running
north west to south east across the eastern end of the boundary and another,
which is a public bridleway running ENE to WSW across the northern stretch of
hollow ways. The surface of these trackways and the field boundary fences at
the south west end of the north western segment and at the north west end of
the south western segment are excluded from the scheduling; however, the
ground beneath these features 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

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or
multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between
less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features
visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The
evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that
their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although
they may have been re-used later.
The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were
constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries
in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of
their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious
associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those
groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance
for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well
preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

The Tabular Hills in the Wykeham Forest area contain a dense concentration of
prehistoric monuments, dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age, which
includes field systems, enclosures and land boundaries as well as both round
and square barrows. The spatial and chronological relationships between the
round and square barrows in this area, and between both types of barrow and
other prehistoric monuments, are of considerable importance for understanding
the development of later prehistoric society in eastern Yorkshire.
Despite limited disturbance, the two earthwork sections of the Rise Dikes are
in a good state of preservation. Important environmental evidence which can be
used to date the boundary and determine contemporary land use will be
preserved within the lowest ditch fills. Evidence for earlier land use will be
preserved in the old ground surface beneath the banks. The ditch fills of the
plough-levelled central section will also preserve valuable environmental
evidence. The Rise Dikes belong to a network of prehistoric boundaries,
dividing the area between Troutsdale in the west and the Derwent valley in the
east. It is thought to represent a system of territorial land division which
was constructed to augment natural divisions of the landscape by river valleys
and watersheds and it is one of many such groups found on the Tabular Hills.
Networks such as these offer important scope for the study of land use for
social, ritual and agricultural purposes during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Lee, G E, Wykeham Archaeological Survey, (1991)
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 54
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 54-59

Source: Historic England

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