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Listed on the National Heritage List for England.
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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.Although partly disturbed and reduced by agricultural activity, Horcum Dike
remains identifiable and significant information about its original form and
function will be preserved.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of part of a
prehistoric dyke known as Horcum Dike. It is located on the eastern side of
the Hole of Horcum overlooking Levisham Moor to the west.
It lies on the southern edge of the sandstone, predominantly heather
covered moor characteristic of the North York Moors. 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 area was
predominantly covered with trees which were slowly cleared as human activity
intensified. The cleared land was divided by substantial dykes into discrete
The dyke extends north to south for a total length of 1.5km from near to
Saltergate Brow to the head of Black Griff. The northern 550m survives as an
earthwork but the remainder has been reduced by agricultural activity and now
survives as buried remains which are clearly visible on aerial photographs.
The earthwork remains include a bank with a flanking ditch on the west side.
The bank measures up to 4m in width and is 1m high and the ditch measures up
to 2m wide and is 0.5m deep. At the northern end the dyke originally extended
further north, however, its course has been obscured by later tracks, hollow
ways and recent erosion and the full extent and nature of any remains are not
yet clear. The dyke probably also originally extended further south but later
landuse has obscured its course here.
All fences posts 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 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.
Books and journalsSpratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989)Other (1995)Vyner, B, (2000)
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.
This map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. This copy shows the entry on 18-May-2022 at 08:40:12.
© Crown Copyright and database right 2022. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2022. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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