A cross dyke on Knapton Wold, 500m west of West Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Feb-2020 at 15:05:35.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- North Yorkshire
- Ryedale (District Authority)
- North Yorkshire
- Ryedale (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SE 89082 74415
Reasons for Designation
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.
The cross dyke on Knapton Wold is reasonably well preserved and is one of a pair of dykes demarcating land divisions on this Wold. This example divides off the western end of the Wold; another cross dyke makes a similar boundary 2km to the east. The cross dyke is associated with other broadly contemporary monuments on the Wolds, including boundary earthworks, burial mounds and especially the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age settlement at Staple Howe. Similar groups of monuments are also known from other parts of the Wolds and from the southern edge of the North York Moors (although Staple Howe is an example of a relatively rare site type). Such associations between monuments offer important scope for the study of the divisions of land for social, ritual and agricultural purposes.
The monument includes the best-preserved part of a cross dyke which runs
across the western end of Knapton Wold, between Knapton Plantation and Deep
Dale Belt. The Wolds Way footpath runs along part of the monument. The cross-
dyke comprises a pair of parallel ditches, each 8m wide by up to 1.5m deep,
with a 0.5m high bank between them and flanked by a 0.5m high bank on each
side. The overall width of the cross dyke is 24m, although for most of its
length the outer banks have been eroded over the years by ploughing and it
will have been slightly wider originally. Towards its north end, the
earthwork becomes less clearly defined; the ditches are less than 0.3m deep
and the banks are barely visible; the dyke also appears to terminate at the
boundary of Knapton Plantation and, although it may have continued down the
north-facing slope of the Wold, forestry and quarrying activity has removed
all traces of the earthwork. Sixty metres south of the Plantation, the farm
access road is cut through the dyke, although the bottoms of the ditches will
survive beneath the road surface. Forty metres north of the edge of Deep Dale
Plantation, the earthworks are interrupted by another crossing point; this
feature lines up with an old east-west field boundary that is visible on
aerial photographs. South of this crossing point, the two ditches merge into
one before fading out at the plantation boundary. In contrast with the
northern end, there is evidence that the cross dyke continued for a further
300m down the hillside towards Wintringham village, although these earthworks
are relatively poorly defined and considerably altered by forestry.
All fences and the metalled surface of the farm access road are excluded from
the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Stoertz C, RCHME unpublished survey (1992), 1992,
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing