Southern section of prehistoric linear boundary known as Rise Dikes, in Wykeham Forest


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019372

Date first listed: 13-Sep-2000


Ordnance survey map of Southern section of prehistoric linear boundary known as Rise Dikes, in Wykeham Forest
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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: Brompton

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Wykeham


National Grid Reference: SE 94006 86427


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

Reasons for Designation

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

The Tabular Hills in the Wykeham Forest area contain a dense concentration of prehistoric monuments, dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age, which includes field systems, enclosures and land boundaries as well as both round and square barrows. The spatial and chronological relationships between the round and square barrows in this area, and between both types of barrow and other prehistoric monuments, are of considerable importance for understanding the development of later prehistoric society in eastern Yorkshire. Despite limited disturbance, this segment of the southern Rise Dikes is in a good state of preservation. Important environmental evidence which can be used to date the boundary and determine contemporary land use will be preserved within the lowest ditch fills. Evidence for earlier land use will be preserved in the old ground surface beneath the banks. The southern Rise Dikes belong to a network of prehistoric boundaries, dividing the area between Troutsdale in the west and the Derwent valley in the east. It is thought to represent a system of territorial land division which was constructed to augment natural divisions of the landscape by river valleys and watersheds and it is one of many such groups found on the Tabular Hills. Networks such as these offer important scope for the study of land use for social, ritual and agricultural purposes during the prehistoric period.


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


The monument includes a segment of a linear boundary on the east side of Sawdon Dale, towards the northern edge of the Tabular Hills. The linear boundary runs ENE from the top of the steep scarp slope into Wester Gill for a distance of 145m. It has a ditch, up to 4m wide and 0.5m deep, which runs between two banks, each up to 3m wide. The northern bank has a maximum height of 0.6m and the southern bank 0.3m. Originally, the banks would have been higher and the ditch deeper, but over the years they have become eroded and filled in by soil slipping down the steep scarp slope. The boundary is crossed in a north to south direction by an unsurfaced trackway; to the east of the trackway the linear boundary is not so well defined. At its eastern end, the boundary stops 5m to the west of a modern field boundary. The monument forms part of a network of prehistoric linear boundaries which is surrounded by a dense concentration of other prehistoric monuments, including burials and settlement remains.

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: 34171

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989)

End of official listing