Section of linear boundary dyke 160m west of High Callis Wold Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015609

Date first listed: 09-Sep-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Apr-1997


Ordnance survey map of Section of linear boundary dyke 160m west of High Callis Wold Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bishop Wilton

National Grid Reference: SE 83012 55735


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

Reasons for Designation

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

The monument is part of a very extensive and important system of linear boundary dykes in this area of the Yorkshire Wolds, dating back to the Bronze Age. Although the southern part of the monument only survives below ground level, archaeological remains will survive in the buried ditches below ground here. However, for part of its length the monument survives well as a significant earthwork feature, and is a rare example of a complex of double banks and ditches. It is closely associated with other complexes of linear banks and ditches, which together form an integral system of boundary and defensive earthworks in this region. As such it offers important insights into ancient land use and territorial divisions for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in this area of the Yorkshire Wolds.


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


The monument includes a 1180m long section of Bronze Age linear boundary banks and ditches (also known as dykes) on Callis Wold west of High Callis Wold Farm. Also included is a 650m length of buried linear ditches, visible as crop marks from the air. The monument is a surviving component of an elaborate complex of boundary dykes found scattered across the Yorkshire Wolds, single components of which run either along the top of the escarpments, or part way down the sides of the intervening dry valley systems. These dykes were used to enhance the natural topographical barriers of spurs and escarpments between valleys, with additional physical barriers of banks and ditches. Natural conduits along the floors of dry valleys were then `blocked' by other bank and ditch systems acting as a means of controlling access. The elaborate complex of boundary earthworks located on Callis, Millington and Huggate Wolds is one of the best preserved remnants of the original more extensive systems recorded and mapped by early antiquarians such as J R Mortimer in the 19th century. Excavations and observations of spatial relationships between these and other earthworks of known date demonstrate this Wolds complex of earthworks to have originated in the later Bronze Age, with several subsequent phases of elaboration and augmentation. The monument also forms part of a broadly related and extensive complex of multi-period prehistoric earthworks, including bowl barrows, barrow cemeteries, linear bank and ditch systems, trackways and enclosures dispersed across Bishop Wilton, Callis, Millington, Huggate and Warter Wolds and Huggate and Millington Pastures. The monument includes two short sections of extant double bank and ditch, adjoining one another in an original `T' shaped junction. To the north a section c.150m long forms the top of the `T'. It runs on an alignment approximately north east-south west. It includes a central ditch between 2m- 2.5m wide and up to 1.5m deep with parallel banks flanking it on either side. The ditch profile varies between being `U' shaped, to occasionally being almost `V' shaped in profile. The bank to the north is between 3m-4m wide at its base and up to 1.5m broad across its top, and between 0.5m and 0.75m high; a second bank to the south is rather lower and narrower, being between 2m-2.5m wide and 0.5m high. There is a suggestion of a second, narrow, very shallow, infilled ditch about a metre in width, running along the same alignment to that of the first bank, to its north. The whole complex of banks and ditches is 10m wide overall here. Its north eastern end is not interpreted as being an original terminal, as aerial photographs indicate that the monument once continued to the north east to link with other sections of linear earthwork on Millington Lings. These sections of monument have been disturbed by agricultural activity and they are not included in the scheduling. The main north-south section of dyke adjoins the east-west dyke towards its western end, and includes a 300m long section of double bank and ditches, running north west-south east. Towards its northern end the central bank of this dyke is up to 1.25m high, between 3m-4m wide at its base and around a metre broad across the top. The bank is flanked by a ditch on either side, which are of variable depth and width, being between 0.5m-1.25m in depth, up to 2m wide across the top and 1.25m-1.5m broad across the base. They vary between being shallow and `U' shaped, to `V' shaped in profile. The line of the dyke curves out slightly to the east, north west of High Callis Wold, and then back south west. Further south, the component banks and ditches are more pronounced, with the ditches being up to 4m wide across the top and the central bank between 0.7m and 1.25m in height, and 5m across its base, and flat-topped. There is a second, slightly lower bank on the western side of the western ditch of this dyke system, also flattened across the top, up to 1.5m wide across its base and about 0.5m high. Overall, the entire system is between 9m and 10m wide at its southern end, before it disappears as an earthwork feature, close to a field boundary hedge. The line of this system is interrupted towards is southern end by a later break of 3m, giving access through the banks and ditches. The monument continues along the same alignment south east for 460m through arable fields, where its ditches survive as buried features, visible as crop marks from the air. A further short, 200m length of buried ditches adjoin the lower end of this crop mark feature in a nearly perpendicular junction, to be cut at its eastern end by a field boundary and the line of the modern paved highway. This end of the monument is not interpreted as being an original terminal, but will once have joined the section of linear dyke running north east across Callis Wold towards Millington Lings, which now underlies, and has been largely levelled by the modern paved highway. The road is not included in the scheduling. Modern post and wire fences and animal feed and water dispensers 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: 26591

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing