Pit alignment on Black Dike Moor, 800m south west of Nan Stone


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017305

Date first listed: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Pit alignment on Black Dike Moor, 800m south west of Nan Stone
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2018 at 01:51:11.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Glaisdale


National Grid Reference: NZ 74473 10662


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

Reasons for Designation

Pit alignments have been identified in many locations across the country, normally as crop mark sites. They frequently extend for great distances and are considered to have acted as territorial markers or boundaries during the prehistoric period. However the pit alignment on Black Dike Moor is of an unusual form, both in being embanked and arranged in segments. Only three other similar sites are known, all within the River Esk basin, and associated with Bronze Age burial mounds. The pit alignment is important because it survives as extant earthworks, is of a rare form, and is associated with a second alignment and important group of round barrows on Middle Rigg approximately 550m to the west.


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


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a pit alignment on the eastern side of Black Dike Moor about 500m ESE of a similar pit alignment on Middle Rigg, Easington High Moor. The pit alignment was first noted by Young in 1817 who interpreted the remains as an ancient British pit village. Canon Atkinson investigated one of the pits in the alignment on nearby Middle Rigg in 1848 and found it to have a stone floor 1.2m-1.5m below the level of the surrounding ground surface. Elgee reinterpreted the pit alignments as an unfinished cross dyke in 1930 and in 1993 the area was surveyed by the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England who identified it as a surviving example of a particular form of pit alignment, a segmented embanked pit alignment. The pit alignment on Black Dike Moor survives as two lengths of earthworks cut through by a number of later trackways. Each section of pit alignment is further subdivided into segments, with each segment typically having between two and four pairs of pits flanked to the NNE and SSW by a pair of banks. Each segment is divided from the next by a slight change in direction or a small break in the flanking banks. The two lines of paired pits are typically centred 10m apart and are up to 3m in diameter with the banks 12m to 18m apart and up to 1m high. The pit alignment is on the same axis as the one on Middle Rigg to the west, but it is offset to the north east by about 130m. The alignment on Black Dike Moor extends south east from a break of slope above Bella Dale Slack for just over 210m and has 25 identifiable pits arranged in five sections. The eastern end of the alignment is cut through by a series of trackways. However the bottoms of further pits will survive as infilled features in this area, and are therefore included in the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 32620

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Lofthouse, C A, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Segmented Embanked Pit Alignments in the North York Moors, , Vol. 159, (1993), 383-392

End of official listing