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Cross ridge dyke 1000m south west of Higher Berry Court Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Donhead St. Mary, Wiltshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.985 / 50°59'6"N

Longitude: -2.1163 / 2°6'58"W

OS Eastings: 391930.140537

OS Northings: 120631.562006

OS Grid: ST919206

Mapcode National: GBR 1XZ.5RZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 66GH.TKC

Entry Name: Cross ridge dyke 1000m south west of Higher Berry Court Cottages

Scheduled Date: 24 July 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020633

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33574

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Donhead St. Mary

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Donhead St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes a cross ridge dyke extending north east-south west
across the middle slopes of a north facing spur, 1km south west of Higher
Berry Court Cottages. It is one of three similar monuments in close
proximity which together define an area of the ridge. One of the other two
dykes forms the subject of a separate scheduling, and all three lie within
the remains of a prehistoric field system.
The cross ridge dyke, which is about 118m long, has two ditches with
downhill banks. The upper southern ditch is `V'-shaped in profile, 5m wide
and 1.4m below the upper ground level, and the upper bank is flat-topped,
6m wide and 0.8m high above the upper ditch. A bank, 1.5m wide and 0.2m
high, running part way along the uphill side of this ditch may be a
lynchet relating to the field system which extends to the south. The lower
ditch is broader in profile, 7m wide, 1.6m deep below the upper bank and
0.6m deep below the lower bank which is 4m wide and 0.9m high. The western
end of the earthwork has been truncated by a small farm track. It would
originally have extended further to the west but has been destroyed by a
chalk quarry, several hollow ways, and possibly the route of the Roman
road from Hamworthy to Bath. The eastern end of the dyke has been
disturbed by a terrace way terminating just below the edge of a steep
coombe.
The field system has been disturbed and levelled by ploughing, its
character is unclear and it is therefore 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

Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number,
density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare
combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the
largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known
cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of
henge monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important
remains include a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and
linear boundaries which date throughout prehistory and into the
Romano-British and medieval periods. This high level of survival of
archaeological remains is due largely to the later history of the Chase.
Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting Ground from at least Norman times,
and much of the archaeological survival within the area resulted from
associated laws controlling land-use which applied until 1830. The unique
archaeological character of the Chase has attracted much attention over
the years, notably during the later 19th century, by the pioneering work
on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and Edward
Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of British archaeology.
Archaeological investigations have continued throughout the 20th century
and to the present day.
Cross ridge dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between
0.2km long and 1km long 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 a combination 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 reused 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
ridge dykes occur across Cranborne Chase and 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 examples have survived to the present
day nationally and all well-preserved examples are considered to be of
national importance. The number of well-preserved examples within
Cranborne Chase is particularly notable.


The cross ridge dyke 1000m south west of Higher Berry Court Cottages is
one of several similar monuments in the vicinity, providing an unusual
association and, despite a small part of it being partly destroyed, is a
well-preserved example of its class which will preserve archaeological
remains providing information about later prehistoric land use and
environment.

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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