Length of linear earthwork, part of the Aberford Dyke system, at Field Lane between the Aberford By-pass and Humphrey Dale Cottage
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 13-Oct-2019 at 21:37:56.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SE 43741 37910
Reasons for Designation
The Aberford Dykes are substantial linear earthworks situated in North and
West Yorkshire, east of Leeds. They lie north and south of Cock Beck with the
modern village of Aberford at their approximate centre.
They are visible as rock-cut ditches and banks. Most of the earthworks run
approximately east-west. The ditch is on the south side of the bank and some
parts of the earthworks have an additional counterscarp bank on the same side.
The earthworks north of Cock Beck (including sections known as The Ridge,
Becca Banks and the earthwork at Field Lane) mostly occupy commanding
positions at the top of the scarp and may once have formed a single boundary.
The earthworks south of Cock Beck include the South Dyke which occupies the
top of the scarp above the beck and, crossing it, Woodhouse Moor Rein,
running north east-south west along a low rounded ridge.
The Aberford Dykes have been identified as defences of the British kingdom of
Elmet against the Anglo-Saxons in the late sixth and early seventh centuries,
or as boundaries to defend the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Deira against the
Mercians in the seventh century AD. They have also been interpreted as dykes
built to defend the territories of the Brigantes against the advance of the
Roman Empire in the first century AD. There is no documentary evidence for the
date of the Dykes, however, and firm archaeological dating evidence is sparse.
They may not all belong to one period but relate to a number of different
events. The style of construction has parallels in both the Roman and the
early post-Roman periods. Excavation at Field Lane retrieved Roman period
pottery from deposits associated with the silting up of the ditch. It is
therefore likely that, here at least, the ditch was open during the Roman
The size and extent of the Aberford Dykes imply a considerable expenditure of
time and labour, suggesting a degree of social organisation at the time of
their construction and a strong concern for territorial control, whether
military, organisational or symbolic. All known lengths of the Aberford Dykes
where significant archaeological deposits are likely to survive are considered
to be nationally important.
The length of linear earthwork, part of the Aberford Dyke system, at Field Lane between the Aberford By-pass and Humphrey Dale Cottage survives well, and will preserve significant archaeological information about the Roman and post- Roman periods.
The monument includes a length of the earthwork at Field Lane which is part of
the Aberford Dyke system. It runs along Field Lane from the A1 Aberford By-
pass to the access road to Humphrey Dale Cottage.
At the west end of this stretch of earthworks the bank is 2m-3m high and 13m
wide and occupies the top of a natural scarp. Further east, the bank survives
under Field Lane. The ditch is no longer visible as an earthwork but has been
shown to survive as a buried feature south of the bank by excavations
conducted before the A1 road improvements. These excavations showed that at
the western end the ditch survives up to 3m in depth with a steep-sided, flat-
bottomed profile, 2.4m wide at the base and 8m wide at the top. In the eastern
excavation trench, near Humphrey Dale, the bank was shown to survive to a
height of only 0.2m, being damaged by ploughing and Field Lane itself. Only
the southern 1.5m of the bank was revealed, the remainder lying to the north
of the limits of the excavation. The ditch at the eastern end was slightly
different in profile from that seen in the western trench and survived to a
depth of 3m. The excavations also revealed buried soil beneath the bank and
Roman pottery in the ditch, demonstrating that the ditch was open in Roman
The pylon is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
WYAS, , A1-M1 Link Road, (1997)
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