Cross ridge dyke on Morgan's Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014033

Date first listed: 13-Nov-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 31-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Cross ridge dyke on Morgan's Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bishops Cannings

National Grid Reference: SU 03185 67113


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

A small number of areas in southern England appear to have acted as foci for ceremonial and ritual activity during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age periods. Two of the best known and earliest recognised, with references in the 17th century, are around Avebury and Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a World Heritage Site. In the Avebury area, the henge monument itself, the West Kennet Avenue, the Sanctuary, West Kennet long barrow, Windmill Hill causewayed enclosure and the enigmatic Silbury Hill are well-known. Whilst the other Neolithic long barrows, the many Bronze Age round barrows and other associated sites are less well-known, together they define one of the richest and most varied areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and ritual monuments in the country.

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 reused 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. Comparatively few have survived to the present day and hence all well-preserved examples are considered to be of national importance. The cross dyke on Morgan's Hill survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a 560m long section of a cross ridge dyke situated on Morgan's Hill. The dyke runs from NNW to SSE across the east-west aligned ridge, dividing Morgan's Hill into two parts. The dyke has a bank c.8m wide and up to 1.5m high. To the east of the bank lies an 8m wide ditch which provided material for its construction and enhanced the effectiveness of the boundary. This has been partly infilled by cultivation but is open to a depth of 0.3m in places, and is visible on aerial photographs. The bank and ditch are interrupted by a number of openings through which animals and people could pass. It is not clear how many of these are original. A further section of the dyke, situated to the south is crossed by the Wansdyke which is later in date. This further section is the subject of a separate scheduling. Excluded from the scheduling are the post and wire fences which cross it and run along its length, although the ground beneath 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: 21900

Legacy System: RSM


SU 06 NW 021, R.C.H.M.(E), Cross dyke on Morgan's Hill, (1975)
SU06NW 659, C.A.O., Linear ditch, (1975)

End of official listing