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Cross ridge dyke known as Gallows Dike and three round barrows 330m south west of Glebe Farm

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Cross ridge dyke known as Gallows Dike and three round barrows 330m south west of Glebe Farm

List entry Number: 1019750


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Levisham

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Lockton


Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 28-Aug-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 25-Jun-2001

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 34807

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities, although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well- preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving examples recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Hollow ways are route ways which over a period of many years have worn a substantial corridor out of the surrounding land. They sometimes start off or are managed by deliberate cutting and recutting. Hollow ways can date from all periods and in some cases can be in use for thousands of years. As a result they can illustrate patterns of communication over many years and are an important element in understanding how the land was used at particular times. The Gallows Dike survives well and significant evidence of its date and construction will be preserved. The barrows also survive well and will provide important information about their original form, the burials placed within them and their relationship with other monuments in the area. Evidence of earlier land use will also survive beneath the barrow mounds. Taken together the monument preserves important information about the use and development of this part of Levisham Moor.


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


The monument includes a cross ridge dyke, three adjacent round barrows and the ground between these features in which archaeological remains such as further burials and boundary features may survive. It is located on the north eastern tip of Levisham Moor overlooking a narrow saddle of land which separates the moor from the hills to the east. Levisham Moor lies on the southern edge of the sandstone, predominantly heather covered moor characteristic of the North York Moors. The moor occupies the northern part of a block of land defined by the deep valleys of Newton Dale to the west, Horcum Slack to the east, Havern Beck to the north and Levisham Beck to the south. The eastern side of the moor is bisected by smaller valleys known locally as griffs which divide the moor into a series of flat-topped peninsulas with steep slopes on all but their north western sides. The southern part of the block of land has been enclosed and brought into agricultural use but traces of prehistoric remains in this area are visible on aerial photographs. Today the moor is little used but archaeological evidence indicates that this has not always been the case. Both the prehistoric and medieval periods saw intensive use of the land for agricultural, industrial and ritual purposes. Remains of these activities survive today. In the early prehistoric period the moor was predominantly covered with trees which were slowly cleared as human activity intensified. The cleared land was divided by substantial dykes into discrete areas which appear to have been used in different ways. The higher areas to the north were used for pastoralism whilst the southern areas were used for arable farming. Some of the dykes also acted as territorial boundaries. Gallows dyke extends for 160m across a narrow peninsula at the north eastern corner of the moor. The central part of the dyke crosses generally level ground but at either end the ground slopes down and the dyke terminates at the top of the steeply sloping moor edge to the north and south. The dyke includes a single ditch with flanking banks. The ditch is 3m wide and the current base is up to 2.3m below the top of the banks. The eastern bank is more substantial than the western and stands up to 1.25m above the surrounding ground and is up to 4m wide. The ditches at other dykes elsewhere on the moor were constructed by digging a series of pits which were joined together and it is thought that this technique was used here. There are at least two substantial hollow ways crossing the dyke which provided access to and from the moor. These routeways are of some antiquity although it is not yet known if their earliest use is contemporary with the construction of the dyke. At either end of the dyke there is a post-medieval boundary stone which marks a later estate boundary. The round barrows lie 40m to the east of the dyke, in a line extending north to south. Each of the barrows has a steep sided earth and stone mound. They each measure up to 12m in diameter and are 1.5m high. The mounds are very close together so there is no significant gap between the mounds and therefore it is unlikely that they were surrounded by ditches. Each of the mounds has a slight hollow on the top which is the result of investigations in the past. Although the barrows were constructed primarily for burials, it is believed that barrows located in prominent positions such as these also served as boundary markers defining territories. The use of the dyke as a territorial marker continues today as the parish boundary extends along the length of the dyke. All fence and gate posts and the stone information plinth are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 3 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Atkins, C, An Archaeological Survey of the Levisham Estate, (1991)
Atkins, C, An Archaeological Survey of the Levisham Estate, (1991), 5-12
Atkins, C, An Archaeological Survey of the Levisham Estate, (1991), 5-12
Spratt, D A, Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, (1994), 111-121
Vyner, B E, 'CBA Research Report 101: Moorland Monuments' in The Brides Of Place: Cross-Ridge Boundaries Reviewed, , Vol. CBA 101, (1995), 16-31
Vyner, B, (2000)

National Grid Reference: SE 84877 94071


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This copy shows the entry on 16-Aug-2018 at 01:32:45.

End of official listing