Linear earthwork, part of the Aberford Dyke system, extending 770m east from Humphrey Dale Cottage

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016953

Date first listed: 27-Sep-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 25-Jun-2001

Map

Ordnance survey map of Linear earthwork, part of the Aberford Dyke system, extending 770m east from Humphrey Dale Cottage
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Aberford

County: North Yorkshire

District: Selby (District Authority)

Parish: Stutton with Hazlewood

National Grid Reference: SE 44206 38131

Summary

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

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 period. 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 linear earthwork, part of the Aberford Dyke system, extending 770m east from Humphrey Dale Cottage survives well, and will preserve significant archaeological information on the Roman and post Roman-periods.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a length of earthworks which forms part of the Aberford Dyke system. It runs from Humphrey Dale Cottage eastwards to a point approximately 80m into Hayton Wood. At the western end the bank lies partly under Field Lane, and partly in the grounds of Humphrey Dale Cottage. Excavations on the line of the access road to Humphrey Dale Cottage revealed a bank severely truncated by ploughing, surviving to a height of only 0.2m. The ditch survives to the south of the bank, at the base of a scarp, but is not visible as a surface feature. Its survival, however, was demonstrated by the excavation. The ditch was shown to survive to a depth of 3m. The central part of this stretch of earthwork has been spread by ploughing, and is visible as a broad bank and ditch. The total width of bank and ditch together is approximately 41m. At the east end of the earthwork in Hayton Wood the bank and ditch are clearly visible, the bank attaining a height of 2m-3m. All fences and garden fixtures 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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 31519

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing