Ancient Monuments

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East Toft Dike: a cross dyke 720m south and 680m south west of Little Marfit Head

A Scheduled Monument in Lockton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.319 / 54°19'8"N

Longitude: -0.6948 / 0°41'41"W

OS Eastings: 484997.3125

OS Northings: 492275.9183

OS Grid: SE849922

Mapcode National: GBR RLLH.CJ

Mapcode Global: WHGBP.9PDV

Entry Name: East Toft Dike: a cross dyke 720m south and 680m south west of Little Marfit Head

Scheduled Date: 23 July 1963

Last Amended: 11 August 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021100

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35456

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Lockton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Lockton St Giles

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a cross dyke
which is situated on the central plateau of the Tabular Hills. It occupies
a prominent ridge-top position between Black Dale and Black Griff. The
monument is divided into two separate areas of protection by the A169
Whitby to Pickering road. The cross dyke runs for 580m in an approximate
north west to south east direction, turning to the south west and south
respectively into the valley heads at the west and east ends. To the east
of the road it has a ditch with a bank of earth and stone on its southern
side. The ditch is up to 0.8m deep, measured from the top of the bank
which stands up to 0.6m high. The earthworks have an overall maximum width
of 7m. The cross dyke has been levelled for the last 10m before the road.
The last 48m of the ditch at the eastern end, after the cross dyke has
made a sharp turn towards the south, has been deepened and widened by its
use as a vehicle track. To the west of the road, the cross dyke has been
levelled by ploughing, but the ditch survives as a buried feature which is
clearly visible as a soil mark on aerial photographs. At the western end
of this section, the line of the ditch is visible as a very shallow linear
depression, and the bank survives as a slight earthwork beneath a modern
field boundary. The monument forms part of a network of prehistoric
boundaries which is surrounded by many other prehistoric monument,
including burials and field systems.

All fence posts along modern field boundaries crossing the monuments are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km
long and 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 combinations 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 re-used
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 dykes 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 have survived to the present day and hence all well-
preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

Despite being part-levelled by ploughing the East Toft Dike has surviving
earthworks and other surviving archaeological deposits. Important
environmental evidence which can be used to date the cross dyke and
determine contemporary land use will be preserved within the lowest ditch
fills in both the earthwork and plough-levelled sections. Evidence for
earlier land use will be preserved in the old ground surface beneath the
surviving length of bank. The cross dyke belongs to a network of
prehistoric boundaries, dividing the area to the south of the scarp edge
of the Tabular Hills, between Newton Dale in the west and Stain Dale 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), 38-41

Source: Historic England

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