Section of linear boundary dyke 390m west of South Wold Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Section of linear boundary dyke 390m west of South Wold Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
Kirby Underdale
National Grid Reference:
SE 81601 57106

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 extreme northern part of the monument has been levelled above ground level, archaeological remains will survive in the buried ditches below ground here. However, much of the monument survives well as a significant earthwork feature, and moreover is a rare example of a junction of multiple bank and ditch linear dyke systems, meeting at the head of a dry valley. It is closely associated with other 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.


The monument includes a 440m long section of Bronze Age linear boundary bank and ditches (also known as a dyke) running north-south on Garrowby Wold, 400m west of South Wold Farm. 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 the way down the sides of the intervening dry valley systems in this area. 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 to control access. The elaborate complex of boundary earthworks located on Garrowby, Bishop Wilton, 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 and Callis Wold, Millington, Huggate and Warter Wolds and Huggate and Millington Pastures. The monument includes a complex which is orientated approximately north- south. A short section of single bank at the southern end is between 1m-1.25m high, up to 4m wide at its base and 2m broad across its top. The bank divides to become a double bank complex, with the ditch centrally placed. The eastern bank varies between 0.5m and 1.25m in height and is 6m-7m broad at its base, and up to 2m wide at its top. The western bank is lower overall, being up to 0.7m high in places, and 4m-5m wide at its base. The central ditch dividing them is up to 1.75m in depth in places and has a `U' shaped profile, being 2.5m wide at the bottom and up to 4m wide at its top. At its northern end the visible earthwork linear dyke disappears into arable fields, where its ditch survives and continues for a length of 200m as a buried feature, visible from the air as crop marks of cultivation. Neither end of the monument is interpreted as being an original terminal. The dyke will once have formed part of a longer section of boundary dykes in this area of the Yorkshire Wolds. The southern end of the monument would once have joined sections of multiple boundary dyke lying to the south of the A166, Garrowby Street, which are the subject of a seperate scheduling. Modern post and wire fences and gates 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.

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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.

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