Cross dyke and two building foundations at Copper Snout


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NT 89038 08885

Reasons for Designation

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks, typically between 2.2km and 1km long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside or parallel to one or more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks, as cropmarks on aerial photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that the period of construction of many cross dykes spanned the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age. Others are known to have had a function in the Middle Ages; without excavation it is difficult to determine whether this indicates reuse of earlier dykes or the construction of new ones during the medieval period. Current information favours the view that they were used as boundary markers, probably demarcating some form of land allotment, although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which indicate how land was divided up, whether in the prehistoric or medieval period. They are of considerable importance for the analysis of contemporary settlement and land use patterns. Relatively few examples have survived to the present day and hence all well preserved examples will merit statutory protection.

The cross dyke at Copper Snout is well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits; it is one of a group of similar monuments in the Borders of England and Scotland and it will add greatly to our understanding of upland land division. Its association with two adjoining structures is of particular importance as the relationship between the cross dyke and these structures will enhance our knowledge of how the system of Border cross dykes operated.


The monument includes the remains of a cross dyke and two adjoining structures, situated astride the narrowest point of a high ridge between two streams. The cross dyke, which is oriented east to west, consists of an earthen bank 350m long and between 3m to 5m wide standing to a maximum height of 0.8m. A ditch which runs parallel with the bank on its northern side is 2m to 3m wide and 0.2m deep. To the west of the track the cross dyke curves noticeably to the north west; it does not extend down to the foot of the steep slopes at either end, stopping abruptly immediately above the steepest part of the slope. At the top of the ridge there is an off-set entrance through the cross dyke, occupied by a trackway thought to be a branch of the medieval road known as Clennell Street. The remains of two rectangular enclosures, interpreted as the foundations of two buildings, are situated against the south side of the cross dyke, either side of the opening. Both are oriented east to west and have doorways through their southern walls. The first and most westerly steading measures 12m by 4m while the second is 16m by 4.5m and is also subdivided into two rooms. The exact relationship between the two buildings and the cross dyke is uncertain but it is thought that they may have functioned as an integral part of the cross dyke system.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
The County of Roxburgh: Volume 1, (1956), 51-53
NT80NE 04,


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

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