Enclosed prehistoric settlement east of Malham Cove
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1010553
Date first listed: 06-Feb-1964
Date of most recent amendment: 21-Feb-1995
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: North Yorkshire
District: Craven (District Authority)
National Park: YORKSHIRE DALES
National Grid Reference: SD 89919 64028
Reasons for Designation
During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of
different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied
in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts
built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites,
sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended
settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops,
others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of
earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate),
others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen
ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber
fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built
round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept
in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed
yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single
family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction
and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through
to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD).
Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element
of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are
important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during
this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national
The site is well preserved. It is one of a very small group of sites all located in this area of the Yorkshire Dales which include intramural passageways. All sites exhibiting this rare construction feature are considered to be nationally important.
The monument is situated on the south side of Sheriff Hill beneath a low
limestone outcrop. It includes a subrectangular enclosure 16m by 13m with
walls 1.5m thick. A passageway is built on to the west wall of the enclosure
and abutting the natural outcrop at its northern end. At its southern end this
passageway terminates in a small enclosure measuring 4m by 1.5m, the inner
face of which is built with upright stones. The passageway is 0.7m wide by
0.7m deep and 11m long; its floor is paved with slabby limestone. The
enclosure walls are grass covered and up to 1.5m wide. Adjoining the east side
of the enclosure is a smaller, less well preserved enclosure, the south east
boundary of which consists of isolated large boulders.
A number of similar sites are found in this area; they have been described by
Dr Arthur Raistrick as including `wall passages'. The function of this passage
is not yet fully understood; it may have been a storage place.
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: 24525
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Raistrick, Dr A, 'Field Studies' in Archaeology Of Malham Moor, , Vol. Vol.1, (1962), 14-16
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