Defended prehistoric settlement site, 280m north east of Box Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018845

Date first listed: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Defended prehistoric settlement site, 280m north east of Box Hall
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Danby


National Grid Reference: NZ 67795 09396


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

Reasons for Designation

During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate), others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD). Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national importance.

The North York Moors is an area which has an abundance of prehistoric remains particularly within moorland landscapes where they have not been disturbed by more recent agricultural activity. These remains are evidence for the widespread exploitation of the uplands throughout prehistory. Many remains date from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC) and relate to diverse activities, funerary and ritual practice as well as agriculture and settlement. For the end of the first millennium BC the range of evidence is more restricted. Settlement at this time was concentrated in the lowland areas surrounding the moors, although some settlement was located on the periphery and in the valleys. The late prehistoric settlement sites on the higher ground are of two types: those consisting of a small number of unenclosed hut circles and those found within small square or sub-rectangular enclosures. A number of enclosed settlement sites on the North York Moors survive as upstanding earthworks, typically between 0.1ha and 0.5ha in area. Few have been subjected to systematic excavation, but examples which have been investigated have presented evidence of settlement, including the presence of buildings. Some of the enclosures may also have functioned as stock enclosures. Where dating evidence has been uncovered, they are normally found to be Iron Age or Romano- British (c.700 BC-AD 400). They are a distinctive feature of the late prehistory of the North York Moors and are important in illustrating the range of enclosed settlement types that developed across Britain at this time. The enclosure 280m north east of Box Hall is a well-preserved early example of a small defended settlement. It forms a core area of a wider spread of scattered prehistoric remains that extends to the north west.


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


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a small prehistoric enclosure, sited on the south west-facing hillside above Box Hall. Scattered across the hillside to the north west and south east there are fragmentary remains of an associated field system which are not included in the scheduling. The enclosure is on slightly sloping ground and is formed by a bank and ditch describing a sub-rectangular area 50m across. The northern and eastern sides are relatively straight, with the opposing sides possessing an outward curve. The ditch is typically around 3m wide and up to 0.3m deep with the internal bank rising up to about 0.5m. On all but the northern side, the ditch also has a slight external bank 3m-4m wide. The interior of the enclosure is slightly sloping and has a number of irregularities. One of these was partly excavated in 1959 by Raymond Hayes who uncovered a rock-cut pit over 2m wide and 0.7m deep containing burnt stones and charcoal. In one of the three narrow trenches also excavated across the ditch in 1959, a base of a pot dating to the Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age period was discovered. Just to the north of the enclosure, centred 15m from the northern ditch, there is a stone cairn 7m in diameter and 0.6m high which is also included in the scheduling. This cairn appears to be fairly irregular and is considered to be a stone clearance cairn.

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: 32616

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hayes, R H, North-East Yorkshire Studies: Archaeological Papers, (1988), 53-55

End of official listing