Ancient Monuments

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The Cleaven Dyke, cursus & bank barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Strathtay, Perth and Kinross

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Latitude: 56.5479 / 56°32'52"N

Longitude: -3.3592 / 3°21'33"W

OS Eastings: 316529

OS Northings: 740377

OS Grid: NO165403

Mapcode National: GBR V8.9HJV

Mapcode Global: WH6PM.CPL4

Entry Name: The Cleaven Dyke, cursus & bank barrow

Scheduled Date: 11 October 1960

Last Amended: 12 August 2005

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM1602

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cursus/bank barrow

Location: Caputh

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Strathtay

Traditional County: Perthshire


The monument comprises a linear monument of Neolithic date known as the Cleaven Dyke. It combines the characteristics of a cursus monument and a bank barrow. It is being re-scheduled to clarify the extent of the protected area, reducing it width to take account of recent re-mapping of the area, and of discussions with the owner over the long-term management of the monument.

The monument is visible as an earthwork running roughly WNW-ESE through woodland and open ground, for a distance of some 1820m; the monument is visible as cropmarks for a further 400m cropmarks in arable fields to the ESE. Further associated features are buried beneath the ploughsoil in the arable field to the WNW. Over most of its length the monument comprises two parallel ditches between 45m and 51m apart, which are up to 5m across and some 0.6m deep. There is a bank between the ditches which measures 1m-2m high by about 8m-10m wide. The bank and ditch appear to consist of a series of linked short segments. At the WNW terminal the bank rises and broadens to about 16m, suggesting that the monument began as a round or oval barrow, with the later addition of a long barrow; only from the end of the long barrow are the widely-spaced ditches characteristic of the Cleaven Dyke visible. There are up to five original, apparently deliberate, breaks in the bank, which are not a feature normally common to cursus monuments. Recent excavations confirmed the segmented construction of the Dyke, and radiocarbon dates suggest that it was built not later than 3300 BC.

Two areas are proposed for scheduling, separated by the main public road from Perth to Blairgowrie; both are marked in red on the accompanying map extract and include the Dyke and an area around the visible features in which related features are likely to survive. The area to the north-west of the road measures about 1385m NW-SE, by a maximum of 69m across. The metalling of the forestry track that runs across the Dyke 1000m from the NW end of the scheduled area is excluded, to allow for maintenance. The area to be scheduled to the south-east of the road measures about 860m NW-SE, by a maximum of 69m across. The metalling of the track crossing the Dyke 400m NW of the SE end of the scheduled area is specifcially excluded from the scheduling to allow maintenance. The above-ground components of modern fence-lines which cross the monument at various points are also excluded from scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: the monument is well-preserved and has suffered little damage or alteration. It has considerable potential to enhance understanding of early Neolithic linear monuments and preserves within it a uniquely well-preserved construction sequence.

Contextual characteristics: while there are more than 50 cursus monuments in Scotland there is only a handful of upstanding bank barrows. These linear monuments are a diverse class. The Cleaven Dyke is set in a landscape rich in other Neolithic ceremonial and burial features and lies amidst a dense concentration of Neolithic flint scatters. The Herald Hill long barrow appears to point at the SE terminal.

Associative characteristics: the monument makes a striking impact on the modern landscape; this visual impact may have been intended by its builders.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to the understanding or appreciation of the Neolithic period in eastern Scotland. It retains the field characteristics of its kind to a marked degree and makes a major impact on the modern landscape. The loss of or damage to the monument would significantly diminish the capacity of the class to contribute to our understanding of prehistoric Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the site as N013NE 89.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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