Length of linear earthworks known as Becca Banks and The Ridge, part of the Aberford Dyke system, between Aberford and a quarry 590m north of Ass Bridge
- 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 19-Oct-2019 at 08:47:41.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)
- Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)
- Barwick in Elmet and Scholes
- National Grid Reference:
- SE 42029 38164
Reasons for Designation
The Aberford Dykes are substantial linear earthworks situated in North and
West Yorkshire, east of Leeds. They lie north and south of Cock Beck with the
modern village of Aberford at their approximate centre.
They are visible as rock-cut ditches and banks. Most of the earthworks run
approximately east-west. The ditch is on the south side of the bank and some
parts of the earthworks have an additional counterscarp bank on the same side.
The earthworks north of Cock Beck (including sections known as The Ridge,
Becca Banks and the earthwork at Field Lane) mostly occupy commanding
positions at the top of the scarp and may once have formed a single boundary.
The earthworks south of Cock Beck include the South Dyke which occupies the
top of the scarp above the beck and, crossing it, Woodhouse Moor Rein,
running north east-south west along a low rounded ridge.
The Aberford Dykes have been identified as defences of the British kingdom of
Elmet against the Anglo-Saxons in the late sixth and early seventh centuries,
or as boundaries to defend the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Deira against the
Mercians in the seventh century AD. They have also been interpreted as dykes
built to defend the territories of the Brigantes against the advance of the
Roman Empire in the first century AD. There is no documentary evidence for the
date of the Dykes, however, and firm archaeological dating evidence is sparse.
They may not all belong to one period but relate to a number of different
events. The style of construction has parallels in both the Roman and the
early post-Roman periods. Excavation at Field Lane retrieved Roman period
pottery from deposits associated with the silting up of the ditch. It is
therefore likely that, here at least, the ditch was open during the Roman
The size and extent of the Aberford Dykes imply a considerable expenditure of
time and labour, suggesting a degree of social organisation at the time of
their construction and a strong concern for territorial control, whether
military, organisational or symbolic. All known lengths of the Aberford Dykes
where significant archaeological deposits are likely to survive are considered
to be nationally important.
The length of linear earthworks known as Becca Banks and the Ridge, part of the Aberford Dyke system, between Aberford and a quarry 590m north of Ass Bridge survives well, and will preserve significant archaeological information on the Roman and post-Roman periods.
The monument includes a length of the linear earthworks known as Becca Banks
and The Ridge, which form part of the Aberford Dyke system. The length
stretches from Aberford to a disused limestone quarry approximately 590m north
of Ass Bridge. This stretch of the earthwork is approximately 2.5km long, and
for most of its length it occupies the scarp north of the Potterton and Cock
Becks. Both the bank and ditch are visible as substantial features for most of
its length. The maximum height of the bank is 2m with the maximum depth of the
ditch being 1.5m. Both features are approximately 8m wide. A smaller,
counterscarp bank, 1m high, is also visible south of the ditch in the eastern
part of Becca Banks.
The earthwork has been breached in places to allow access to fields, and in
Becca Low Wood the earthwork has been disturbed by quarrying.
All fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them
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:
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