Ancient Monuments

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Late prehistoric settlement and field system on the southern edge of Commondale Moor, 450m north east of Wayworth Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Commondale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4806 / 54°28'50"N

Longitude: -0.9987 / 0°59'55"W

OS Eastings: 464971.548457

OS Northings: 509935.893441

OS Grid: NZ649099

Mapcode National: GBR PJGM.KL

Mapcode Global: WHF8M.MMMY

Entry Name: Late prehistoric settlement and field system on the southern edge of Commondale Moor, 450m north east of Wayworth Farm

Scheduled Date: 4 January 2016

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1425711

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Commondale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Danby with Castleton and Commondale

Church of England Diocese: York


Upstanding earthworks and associated buried remains of hut circles, settlement enclosures and associated field system clearance cairns and field boundaries all dating to the later prehistoric: Bronze Age to Iron Age periods.

Source: Historic England


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: late prehistoric hut circles, settlement enclosures and field system remains surviving as both upstanding earthworks and buried remains.

DESCRIPTION: the site comprising some 5.6 hectares extends across a set of natural, south east facing terraces which have been modified to form an area of slightly irregular but generally rectangular enclosures forming a typical Bronze Age to late prehistoric accreted field system. These enclosures are defined by low earthwork banks typically up to 0.3m high and 1m wide, their northern edges appearing to cut into the rising ground, their southern boundaries appearing as stony lynchets, sometimes curving to make the enclosure more D shaped than rectangular. Across the area there are many shallow pits, hollows and other earthworks, at least some of which are considered to represent hut circles. The best defined example, even being mapped and labelled by the Ordnance Survey, is towards the eastern end of the complex at NZ 65099 09994. This is a circular, low earthwork bank approximately 6m in diameter with a southern entrance: this matching the description of the hut circle with a stone slab floor that Elgee partially excavated in the 1920s. Centred about 60m to the south west of this hut circle there are a pair of curvilinear embanked enclosures each about 30-40m across, divided from each other by a hollow way; these enclosures include further hut circles and appear to form the focus of the prehistoric settlement. Fields further to the west are more rectangular in form and generally appear to be more regular.

AREA OF SCHEDULING: prehistoric earthwork remains extend across Commondale Moor, with less well defined remains also extending into the improved fields to the south of the road. The monument is focused on a concentration of well defined earthworks which is considered to be the main focus of the prehistoric settlement. The southern boundary is drawn 3m north of the road edge to exclude the disturbed ground beside the road. The west boundary follows, but does not include, a curving trackway onto the moor which starts from opposite the drive to Wayworth Farm. The eastern boundary is marked by a stream before heading west to a marked break of slope on the hillside which forms the northern boundary, this being mapped to follow the 245m contour. This area does not include the northernmost set of earthworks mapped by Elgee which included two cairns, one being depicted by the Ordnance Survey as a tumulus at NZ 64946 10134. These remains are less well defined than those included in the area of scheduling, and form part of a more extensive area of dispersed prehistoric remains which extend across the moorland.

EXCLUSIONS: there are no exclusions from the scheduling within the area of the monument.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The late prehistoric settlement and field system on the southern edge of Commondale Moor is designated for the following principal reasons:
* Period, Survival: as a good, well preserved example of a settlement dating to the late prehistoric, possibly dating as early as the Bronze Age;
* Diversity: for its good range of features including hut circles and other structural remains, as well as an associated field system including a range of forms and shapes of fields;
* Potential: the upstanding earthworks indicate a good level of survival of associated in situ deposits. This was demonstrated by a very small scale excavation in the 1920s by Frank Elgee.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Elgee, F, Early Man in NE Yorkshire, (1930), 146-7
Earthworks plotted from aerial photos in 2013 by Archaeological Research Services Ltd in partnership with English Heritage and the National Park Authority.

Source: Historic England

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