Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric linear boundary known as Snainton Dikes, 740m east of Ebberston Common House

A Scheduled Monument in Ebberston and Yedingham, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2913 / 54°17'28"N

Longitude: -0.6068 / 0°36'24"W

OS Eastings: 490783.394567

OS Northings: 489301.212874

OS Grid: SE907893

Mapcode National: GBR SL6T.FG

Mapcode Global: WHGBX.ND8L

Entry Name: Prehistoric linear boundary known as Snainton Dikes, 740m east of Ebberston Common House

Scheduled Date: 1 August 1974

Last Amended: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020299

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34679

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Ebberston and Yedingham

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ebberston St Mary

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a linear boundary which is situated on a west-facing
slope running between the valleys of Deep Dale and Troutsdale, towards the
northern scarp edge of the Tabular Hills.
The linear boundary runs from the head of Rosekirk Dale in the south to Little
Stubby Head in the north, in a SSW to NNE direction, turning more to the north
at the northern end. It consists of two parallel steep-sided ditches which run
between two banks of earth and stone and are separated by a third bank.
Together the earthworks have an overall width of 20m-24m. For the last 30m at
both ends the boundary has only a single ditch and bank, which has an overall
width of 6m. The single ditch and bank continue the western ditch and the
western outer bank and turn slightly towards the west, ending at the top of
the steep edge of the valley at the north and at the bottom of the valley head
at the south. The ditches are 3m-4m wide and the outer banks are 3m-5m wide.
For most of its length the central bank is 7m-8m wide, but it narrows to 4m at
either end where there is a gap of 3m-5m between the western edge of the bank
and the eastern edge of the western ditch. The western ditch is up to 2.5m
deep and the eastern ditch is up to 1.5m deep, measured from the tops of the
banks. The western bank stands up to 1.2m high and the eastern bank stands up
to 0.6m high, although for much of its length it has been partly levelled by
forestry activities and is no more than 0.3m high. The central bank stands up
to 0.9m high above the level area between its western edge and the western
Running along the top of the central bank, for the southern half of the
boundary, there is a turf wall which has a width of 1m and stands up to 0.8m
high. This is post-medieval and marks the boundary between the parishes of
Ebberston and Snainton. There are a number of modern breaks in the boundary.
In the northern half there are two sand and gravel quarries which have
truncated the western bank and outer ditch and adjacent to them there are
disused trackways which cross the earthworks. In the southern half, a
forestry track crosses the boundary from WSW to ENE.
The monument forms part of a network of prehistoric linear boundaries which
are surrounded by many other prehistoric monuments, particularly burials.
The surface of the forestry track, and all fence posts are excluded from
the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

Despite limited disturbance, the prehistoric linear boundary known as
Snainton Dikes, 740m east of Ebberston Common House, 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 eastern Tabular Hills is an area which has many networks of prehistoric
land boundaries. These are thought to represent systems of territorial land
division which were constructed to augment natural divisions of the landscape
by river valleys and watersheds. The Dalby Forest and Scamridge areas have a
particular concentration which is thought to have originated in the Late
Neolithic or Early Bronze Age, earlier than most other prehistoric boundary
systems on the Tabular Hills. The networks within this concentration, and many
of their component boundaries, are notably complex and are of considerable
importance for understanding the development of later prehistoric society in
eastern Yorkshire.
The Snainton Dikes are part of the system of boundaries dividing the area
between Troutsdale in the south and the scarp edge of the Tabular Hills in the
north. It lies close to a complex of pit alignments which comprise the
earliest boundaries in this area. The relationships of the Snainton Dikes with
these boundaries and with the burial monuments in the landscape surrounding
them are important for understanding the chronological development of land
division during the later prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Northern Archaeological Associates, , North York Moors Forest Survey Phase Two, (1996)
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 50-51
English Heritage, Prehistoric embanked pit alignments on Ebberston Low Moor, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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