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Oxmoor and Givendale Dikes: prehistoric linear boundaries and associated features

A Scheduled Monument in Ebberston and Yedingham, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.2668 / 54°16'0"N

Longitude: -0.633 / 0°37'58"W

OS Eastings: 489127.008758

OS Northings: 486549.345721

OS Grid: SE891865

Mapcode National: GBR SM03.R6

Mapcode Global: WHGC3.70TS

Entry Name: Oxmoor and Givendale Dikes: prehistoric linear boundaries and associated features

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1923

Last Amended: 20 May 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020834

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35443

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Ebberston and Yedingham

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Allerston St John

Church of England Diocese: York

Details

The monument includes three prehistoric linear boundaries which are
situated on the southern slopes of the Tabular Hills. Also included are a
round barrow, which is immediately adjacent to one of the linear
boundaries, a segment of medieval hollow way which crosses another of the
linear boundaries and the sites of a rabbit trap and a limekiln, both of
which were constructed within parts of the linear boundaries in the 18th
or 19th centuries. The monument is divided into two areas of protection
which are separated by the public road.
The boundary known as the Oxmoor Dikes runs approximately north east to
south west between the top of the steep slope into Troutsdale and the head
of Given Dale; at its north eastern end it turns more to the east. It has
three steep-sided V-shaped ditches which run between four parallel banks
and it has an overall width between 27m and 38m. The ditches are up to 2m
deep, measured from the tops of the adjacent banks. The banks have a
rounded profile and are constructed from earth and stone. The outer banks
stand up to 1m high, but over the years, they have, in places, been
reduced in width or partly levelled by ploughing in the adjacent fields.
At its north eastern end, the Oxmoor Dikes terminate at the head of a
steep stream gully, where a modern track has truncated the terminal.
Towards its south western end, there is a boundary stone situated on the
north western side of the north western bank, along the line of the
boundary between the modern parishes of Allerston and Ebberston and
Yedingham. Further to the west, a post-medieval limestone quarry has
destroyed part of the central and north western ditches and the bank
between them. A limekiln has been identified from the 1854 edition of the
Ordnance Survey maps, on which it is shown in the centre of the quarry,
along the line of the destroyed bank. Since its disuse, it has been robbed
for stone and levelled, so that no visible remains survive above ground.
On the south west side of the quarry, there is a modern track running
north to south across the line of the Oxmoor Dikes; to the west of the
track, a fragment of the north western bank survives within a field, and
to the east of the track a fragment of the part-destroyed bank also
survives. South of the quarry, the south eastern ditch and the banks on
either side of it continue and turn to the south, ending at a modern field
access track which truncates them.
The segment of medieval hollow way runs north west to south east across
the Oxmoor Dikes towards their north eastern end, cutting through all the
banks. It is 3m-5m wide and up to 0.5m deep, with traces of banks on
either side. At the north western side of the Oxmoor Dikes, the hollow way
continues beyond this segment but becomes braided into five different
routes. The hollow way is thought to have been established initially as a
route between the monastic settlements at Lastingham and Hackness. The
Oxmoor Dikes have also been breached by the public road and by four modern
field access tracks.
The second linear boundary runs NNE to SSW along the eastern edge of Given
Dale. Formerly it had a ditch which ran between two parallel banks,
constructed of earth and stone, and it had an overall width of between 13m
and 22m. However, the northern part of the boundary has been ploughed so
that the earthworks are only visible as slight depressions in the ground
surface. The eastern bank has also been reduced by ploughing in the
southern part of the boundary, but the ditch and western bank survive as
earthworks, where the ditch is up to 1.4m deep, measured from the top of
the adjacent bank. At its southern end, the boundary peters out as the
slope into Given Dale becomes much steeper. At its northern end, the
boundary turns to the north east to join the south western end of the
Oxmoor Dikes; originally the boundary was continuous with the north
western ditch of the Oxmoor Dikes and its flanking banks, but the junction
is partly obscured by the modern field boundary and track.
The boundary known as Givendale Dike runs north east to south west along
the eastern edge of Givendale. Towards its northern end it runs away from
the valley edge and turns more to the north, to run approximately parallel
to the second linear boundary which lies about 100m away downslope. For
the northern 500m the Givendale Dike has two steep-sided V-shaped ditches
which run between three parallel banks and it has an overall width of 24m.
The ditches are up to 2m deep measured from the tops of the adjacent
banks. The banks have rounded profiles and are constructed from earth and
stone. The outer banks stand up to 0.7m high, but towards the northern end
of this section they have been reduced in places by ploughing at their
edges. At the southern end of this section, where the boundary starts to
turn to the south west, the western ditch and outer bank begin to peter
out, but have been truncated by ploughing before their terminal. For a
520m section, the eastern ditch and flanking banks have been filled in and
levelled by ploughing so that they are no longer visible as earthworks.
Beyond this section, the Givendale Dike has a single ditch which runs
between two parallel banks and it has an overall maximum width of 13m.
The ditch is up to 1.3m deep measured from the tops of the adjacent banks
and the western bank stands up to 0.7m high. However, over the years, the
eastern bank has largely been levelled by forestry operations so that it
many places it is no longer visible as an earthwork, although where traces
survive, it stands up to 0.3m high. At its southern end, the Givendale
Dike peters out as the slope into Givendale becomes steeper. At its
northern end, the western ditch and flanking banks of the Givendale Dike
were originally continuous with the eastern ditch and flanking banks of
the Oxmoor Dikes, but the junction between the two has been obscured by a
modern field access track. The Givendale Dike has been breached by one
field access track towards its northern end, and by two forest tracks,
towards the southern end.
The rabbit trap has been identified from the 1848 edition of the Ordnance
Survey maps. It was originally constructed on or within the eastern bank
of the Givendale Dike, towards its southern end, but over the years it has
collapsed and become levelled so that it is no longer visible.
The round barrow is situated alongside the Givendale Dike on its north western
side, in the section which has been levelled by ploughing. The barrow
originally had a mound of earth and stone, but this has also been levelled by
ploughing. However, the mound was surrounded by a ditch, and this survives
below the ground surface as a subsoil feature, which is visible as a cropmark
on aerial photographs and has a maximum external diameter of 20m.
The monument forms part of a network of prehistoric linear boundaries
which is surrounded by many other prehistoric monuments, particularly
burials.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: the
surfaces of the forestry track crossing the Givendale Dike, all fence
posts along modern field boundaries crossing and running along the
monument and all field boundary walls crossing and running alongside the
monument; however, the ground beneath all these features is included.


MAP EXTRACT
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.

Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period
to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period
2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds,
sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur
either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus
for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although
differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a
diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving examples
recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often
possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell
barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic
element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form
and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the
diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric
communities.
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.
Despite limited disturbance, the Oxmoor and Givendale Dikes have survived
well; the northern part of the Givendale Dike is in an excellent state of
preservation. Important environmental evidence which can be used to date
the boundaries 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. Stratigraphic
relationships will survive between the components of the boundaries and
between the different boundaries and will provide evidence for their
sequence of construction and development.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 43-53
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 39-50
Rutter, J G, 'Transactions of the Scarborough and District Archaeological Soc' in A Survey Of Linear Earthworks And Associated Enclosures In NE, (1969), 5-11
Rutter, J G, 'Transactions of the Scarborough and District Archaeological Soc' in A Survey Of Linear Earthworks And Associated Enclosures In NE, (1969), 5-11
Other
AJC 002/26,29,
Title: 1st Edition 6" Ordnance Survey sheet 92
Source Date: 1848
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Title: 2nd Edition 25" Ordnance Survey sheet 92/3
Source Date: 1912
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

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