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Scamridge Dikes: prehistoric linear boundaries and associated features

A Scheduled Monument in Ebberston and Yedingham, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.2602 / 54°15'36"N

Longitude: -0.6156 / 0°36'55"W

OS Eastings: 490279.547114

OS Northings: 485835.405457

OS Grid: SE902858

Mapcode National: GBR SM45.JL

Mapcode Global: WHGC3.J53W

Entry Name: Scamridge Dikes: prehistoric linear boundaries and associated features

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1923

Last Amended: 20 May 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020835

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35444

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

Details

The monument includes two adjoining prehistoric linear boundaries which
are situated on the southern slopes of the Tabular Hills. Also included
are a round barrow, a segment of a linear boundary considered to be of
medieval origin, a segment of medieval hollow way, a segment of a
post-medieval linear boundary and a post-medieval limekiln, all of which
are adjacent to or superimposed upon, the prehistoric boundaries. The
monument is divided into two separate areas of protection which are
separated by the public road.
The boundary known as the Scamridge Dikes runs approximately north east to
south west, following a slightly sinuous course between the top of the
steep slope into Troutsdale and the edge of Kirk Dale. It has two
sections, which are joined in the centre of the boundary at the bottom of
Scamridge Slack. To the north east of Scamridge Slack the boundary has
five steep-sided V-shaped ditches which run between six approximately
parallel banks, and it has an overall width of between 45m and 70m. At its
northern end, the Scamridge Dikes terminate at the top of the steep scarp
slope into Troutsdale. To the south west of Scamridge Slack, the boundary
has four steep-sided V-shaped ditches which run between five approximately
parallel banks; the southern outer ditch and bank end about 450m south
west of the edge of the Slack, reducing the boundary to three ditches and
four banks. In this section the boundary has an overall width of between
42m and 58m. At its southern end, the Scamridge Dikes gradually becomes
shallower up to the terminal, close to the edge of the steep slope into
Kirk Dale. Within Scamridge Slack most of the earthworks have been
levelled by ploughing. Only the western outer bank running down the east
side of the Slack survives as an earthwork, incorporated into a modern
field boundary, and this is continuous with the bank on the southern side
of the northern outer ditch to the west of the Slack.
Over the years, the outer edges of the Scamridge Dikes have been
encroached upon by ploughing in the adjacent fields, which has resulted,
in places, in the infilling of the outer ditches and the levelling or
reduction in width of the adjacent banks. At the southern end of the
boundary both the western outer ditch and the central ditch have been
infilled as a result of ploughing. However, these ditches survive as
subsoil features which are visible as soil marks on aerial photographs. To
the north east of Scamridge Slack the three central ditches are up to 2m
deep and, where they survive, the outer ditches are up to 1.5m deep,
measured from the tops of the adjacent banks. To the south west of the
Slack, the southern ditch has largely been filled in; the other three
ditches are up to 1.7m deep, measured from the top of the adjacent banks,
although the central one of the three gradually becomes shallower towards
the south. The banks have a rounded profile and are constructed from earth
and stone; the banks at the outer edges of the surviving earthworks stand
between 0.5m and 1.2m above the level of the adjacent fields.
The medieval hollow way runs east to west across the Scamridge Dikes
towards the northern end, cutting through all the banks. It is 5m wide and
up to 1.2m deep. It is thought to have been established initially as a
route between the monastic settlements at Lastingham and Hackness.
Towards the southern end of the north eastern section of the Scamridge
Dikes, there is a large breach through which a segment of the boundary
marking the division between the modern parishes of Ebberston and
Yedingham and Snainton passes. This boundary consists of a shallow ditch
which runs between two low banks and it is thought to have been
established in the early post-medieval period.
The Scamridge Dikes have several other post-medieval or modern breaches:
in the north eastern section three forestry tracks and four field access
tracks cross the boundary, and in the south western section five field
access tracks and the public road cross the boundary. On either side of
the parish boundary, the Scamridge Dikes have been disturbed by
post-medieval limestone quarries. Further quarries have disturbed the
Scamridge Dikes to the immediate west of the public road.
The round barrow is situated 10m from the outer western bank of the
Scamridge Dike, close to its northern end. It has an earth and stone mound
which stands up to 0.6m high and has a diameter of 8m.
On the east side of the Scamridge Dikes, the second segment of medieval
linear boundary merges with the hollow way. This medieval boundary segment
continues to run in a south east direction away from the Scamridge Dikes
as far as the public road. It has a ditch running between two low banks,
which has an overall maximum width of 10m. The ditch is up to 1.2m deep,
measured from the tops of the banks. The western part of the boundary
segment has largely been levelled by ploughing in the past, in the field
to the south, although the ditch survives up to 0.5m deep. Close to its
junction with the Scamridge Dikes, the southern bank has been buried
beneath a substantial lynchet at the northern limit of ploughing.
The lime kiln is situated within the eastern part of the Scamridge Dikes,
adjacent to the quarries towards the southern end of the north eastern
section. It was constructed in the 18th or 19th century and is of a type
known as a clamp kiln. The lime kiln is visible as a steep-sided oval
shaped hollow oriented north west to south east, which is centred within
the eastern ditch of the prehistoric boundary and has been excavated into
the two banks on either side of it. The hollow opens to the north west
into the quarries, along the line of another of the prehistoric ditches,
and is surrounded elsewhere by a horseshoe-shaped bank which is 5m wide
and stands up to 1m high. The hollow is about 2.2m deep, measured from the
top of the bank. The site of a second lime kiln is identified on the 1848
edition of the Ordnance Survey map, situated within the quarries to the
west of the public road, but there are no longer any visible traces of
this.
The second prehistoric boundary runs north to south along the top of the
eastern edge of Scamridge Slack, which becomes Netherby Dale at its
southern end. At the northern end, the boundary terminates on the line of
the southern outer ditch of the Scamridge Dikes. At its southern end it
gradually peters out as the steepness of the slope into Netherby Dale
increases. For most of its length, the boundary has two ditches which run
between three approximately parallel banks, and it has an overall width of
25m. At its northern end, however, there are three ditches and four banks,
although the western ditch and outer bank have largely been levelled by
ploughing, and these have an overall width of 32m. The ditches have a
rounded profile and are between 0.8m and 2.7m deep, measured from the tops
of the adjacent banks; the additional eastern ditch at the northern end is
up to 1m deep. The banks are also rounded and are constructed from earth
and stone. The western bank stands up to 1.5m high and the two eastern
banks each stand up to 0.3m high.
To the south of the additional eastern ditch, a straight linear boundary
running east to west cuts across the eastern side of the prehistoric
boundary. This east to west boundary originally had a ditch running
between two shallow banks, and it is thought to have had a medieval
origin. The ditch cuts through the eastern and central banks of the
prehistoric boundary, but to the east of the prehistoric boundary only the
northern bank survives, forming part of a modern field boundary. To the
south of the east to west boundary, the prehistoric boundary has been
disturbed by limestone quarries. In addition to these areas of
disturbance, the prehistoric boundary has been breached in four places to
allow field and farm access.
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 two forestry tracks, one field access track and one farm
access track crossing the Scamridge Dikes, the surface of the farm access
track crossing the second prehistoric boundary, all fence posts along
modern field boundaries crossing and running along the monument and around
the pheasant rearing enclosure at the northern end of the Scamridge Dikes
and all field boundary walls crossing and running alongside the monument;
however, the ground beneath all these features is included in the
scheduling. The covered reservoir on the eastern side of the Scamridge
Dikes is not included in the scheduling.

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, Scamridge Dikes and associated features have
survived well; the surviving earthworks in the northern part of the
Scamridge Dikes are in an excellent state of preservation. Significant
information will be preserved about the date, original form and the nature
and duration of use of the linear boundaries and their associated
features. Stratigraphic relationships between the different components of
the boundaries will survive and provide evidence for their sequence of
construction and development. Evidence for the contemporary environment
and economy will be preserved within the lower fills of the various
ditches and within the buried ditches of the ploughed-out parts. Evidence
for earlier land use will be preserved in the old ground surface beneath
the different banks. The bottom of Scamridge Slack will contain
waterlogged deposits which will also preserve important environmental
evidence.
Unlike many burial monuments in this area, the round barrow does not
appear to have been excavated in the past and it will therefore have
undisturbed archaeological deposits in the centre relating to the primary
burial, which are less likely to survive in partially excavated examples.
Lime kilns are structures which were built in order to produce lime by
burning chalk or limestone with a fuel, such as wood, peat or coal. The
earliest lime kilns are Roman in date, but most surviving examples which
have been identified are 18th or 19th century and date from a time when
agricultural intensification generated the need for large quantities of
lime for spreading on cultivated fields. Clamp kilns are generally found
in rural locations where they were constructed for single or intermittant
use and had no permanent superstructure. The kiln was formed of an
excavated bowl or pit, within which was placed a base of kindling and a
mound of alternating layers of limestone and fuel. The sides may have been
built up slightly with earth and/or rough stone walling, and the load was
covered with sods of earth. A flue was incorporated into the base of the
mound and when ready, the whole mass was set alight and left to burn
itself out over a period of days. The kiln was then dismantled and the
lime removed.
The lime kiln on the east side of the Scamridge Dikes is important because
it has been constructed within a prehistoric linear boundary, and this
demonstrates the diversity of form which it is thought rural clamp kilns
had.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Northern Archaeological Associates, , North York Moors Forest Survey Phase Two, (1996)
Northern Archaeological Associates, , North York Moors Forest Survey Phase Two, (1996)
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 45-51
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 50-53
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 45-53
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 47
Winchester, A J L, The Harvest of the Hills, (2000), 26-51
Harrison, B J D, Roberts, B K, 'The North York Moors. Landscape Heritage' in The Medieval Landscape, (1989), 88-94
Rimington, F C, 'Transactions of the Scarborough and District Archaeological Soc' in , , Vol. 3, no.17, (1974), 8-9
Rutter, J G, 'Transactions of the Scarborough and District Archaeological Soc' in A Survey Of Linear Earthworks And Associated Enclosures In NE, , Vol. 1, no.8, (1965), 4-13
Rutter, J G, 'Transactions of the Scarborough and District Archaeological Soc' in A Survey Of Linear Earthworks And Associated Enclosures In NE, (1966), 35-39
Rutter, J G, 'Transactions of the Scarborough and District Archaeological Soc' in A Survey Of Linear Earthworks And Associated Enclosures In NE, (1966), 35-39
Rutter, J G, 'Transactions of the Scarborough and District Archaeological Soc' in A Survey Of Linear Earthworks And Associated Enclosures In NE, , Vol. 2, no.10, (1967), 13-25
Other
AJC 002/ 22, 25, (1983)
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:

Title: 2nd Edition 25" Ordnance Survey sheet 92/7
Source Date: 1910
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

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