Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Southern section of prehistoric linear boundary known as Rise Dikes, in Wykeham Forest

A Scheduled Monument in Brompton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2649 / 54°15'53"N

Longitude: -0.5582 / 0°33'29"W

OS Eastings: 494005.585693

OS Northings: 486428.745261

OS Grid: SE940864

Mapcode National: GBR SMJ3.YX

Mapcode Global: WHGC4.D2F9

Entry Name: Southern section of prehistoric linear boundary known as Rise Dikes, in Wykeham Forest

Scheduled Date: 13 September 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019372

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34171

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Brompton

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 a segment of a linear boundary on the east side of
Sawdon Dale, towards the northern edge of the Tabular Hills.
The linear boundary runs ENE from the top of the steep scarp slope into Wester
Gill for a distance of 145m. It has a ditch, up to 4m wide and 0.5m deep,
which runs between two banks, each up to 3m wide. The northern bank has a
maximum height of 0.6m and the southern bank 0.3m. Originally, the banks would
have been higher and the ditch deeper, but over the years they have become
eroded and filled in by soil slipping down the steep scarp slope. The boundary
is crossed in a north to south direction by an unsurfaced trackway; to the
east of the trackway the linear boundary is not so well defined. At its
eastern end, the boundary stops 5m to the west of a modern field boundary.
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.

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, this segment of the southern Rise Dikes is 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 southern 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
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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