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Two prehistoric linear boundaries with associated features, 680m ESE and 880m NNE of Pexton Moor 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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Two prehistoric linear boundaries with associated features, 680m ESE and 880m NNE of Pexton Moor Farm

List entry Number: 1020699


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Thornton-le-Dale


Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 05-Jul-2002

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 35433

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

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.

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Despite limited disturbance, the components of this monument, two prehistoric linear boundaries with associated features in Dalby Forest 680m ESE and 880m NNE of Pexton Moor Farm, have survived well. Significant information will be preserved about their original form and the nature and duration of their use. Important environmental evidence which can be used to date the boundaries and associated features, and determine contemporary land use and economy will be preserved within the lowest ditch fills. Evidence for earlier land use will be preserved in the old ground surface beneath the banks and the cairn. Stratigraphic relationships between the different components of the monument will survive and provide evidence for the sequence of construction and development. These linear boundaries are among several boundaries which divide the area between Thornton Dale in the east and Newton Dale in the west. They are thought to represent part of a system of territorial land division which was constructed to augment natural divisions of the landscape by river valleys and watersheds. This system is one of many such groups of boundaries found on the Tabular Hills. The monument lies close to the site of an Iron Age cart burial in an area which also includes other burial monuments. Associated groups of monuments such as this offer important scope for the study of land use for social, ritual and agricultural purposes during the later prehistoric period.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric linear boundary and the surviving part of a second prehistoric linear boundary which are situated in Dalby Forest, on the southern slopes of the Tabular Hills. Also included are a round cairn, the boundary of a stock enclosure and the sites of two rabbit traps, all of which are appended to, or adjacent to, the linear boundaries. The monument is divided into two areas of protection which are separated by the Dalby Forest Drive. The first linear boundary runs approximately north to south along the top of the steep east-facing slope into Thornton Dale; at its southern end it turns towards the south west and runs along the top of Ellerburn Banks, projecting beyond Dalby Forest into the Ellerburn Banks Nature Reserve and agricultural fields. Originally the boundary consisted of a steep-sided ditch running between two parallel banks of earth and stone, which had an overall width between 14m and 18m. However, over the years the western bank has largely been levelled by ploughing and forestry activities and is no longer visible as an earthwork, although traces survive at the extreme northern end, standing up to 0.3m high, and in the central part, standing up to 0.6m high. The eastern bank stands between 0.9m and 2m high and the ditch is between 0.9m and 2m deep, measured from the tops of the banks. At the southern end of the boundary, the last 170m of the ditch have become filled in as a result of ploughing in the field to the north west. At its northern end, the boundary has a rounded terminal. For a 30m length to the immediate north of the Nature Reserve, the western bank is visible with an additional ditch on its western side, giving the boundary an overall width of 21m. To the west of the Nature Reserve, there is an irregular enclosure adjoining the west side of the linear boundary and parallel to it. It measures externally approximately 215m north to south by 135m east to west, and is thought to be a stock enclosure associated with the linear boundary. It is bounded on its western and northern sides by an earth and stone bank which is 4.5m wide and stands up to 0.9m high. The bank is continuous with the western bank of the linear boundary which forms the eastern side of the enclosure; the ditch and eastern bank of the linear boundary have their greatest width, depth and height alongside the enclosure. Originally the enclosure would have had a ditch up to 2m wide running along the inner edge of the enclosing bank. However, over the years the ditch has become filled in as a result of ploughing within the interior of the enclosure and it is no longer visible as an earthwork feature, although a slight depression along the line of the ditch can be seen in the northern side adjacent to a modern breach in the enclosure bank which provides the modern field access. The line of the ditch in the north east corner of the enclosure has been disturbed by quarrying. The southern side of the enclosure is open. The two rabbit traps have been identified from the 1912 editions of the Ordnance Survey maps. They were originally constructed on or within the western bank of the linear boundary but over the years they have collapsed and become levelled so that they are no longer visible, although slight depressions can be seen in the ground surface at their approximate locations. The second linear boundary follows a sinuous course between the heads of Orchan Dale and the edge of Thornton Dale, running in an approximate east to west direction and turning to the south towards the western end. It consists of two approximately parallel ditches, each with a pair of flanking earth and stone banks. For most of its length it has an overall maximum width of 14m, except at the eastern end where the width increases to 16m and at the western end where there is a gap between the two sets of ditches and banks which increases the width to between 17m and 25m. Over the years the boundary has become fragmented and parts of it have been levelled as a result of forestry activities, so that in the central section only the outer banks and traces of the ditches survive. The banks stand between 0.4m and 0.7m high and the ditches have a maximum depth of 1m measured from the tops of the banks. At its western end the boundary stops abruptly at the edge of a field; ploughing has levelled the boundary in the field to the south so that its original extent is not known. For the last 30m at its eastern end, the boundary was recut as a single ditch, up to 1.7m deep, running between two banks, standing between 0.3m and 0.5m high, and this turns to the north to run into the first linear boundary at its northern end; this part of the east-west linear boundary was recut after the north-south linear boundary was constructed since its southern bank lies across the ditch of the north-south linear boundary. The round cairn adjoins the southern side of the east-west linear boundary. It has a stone mound which measures 5m in diameter and stands up to 0.5m high. The monument forms part of a network of prehistoric linear boundaries which is surrounded by many other prehistoric monuments, particularly burials. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: the surfaces of the forestry tracks running north to south and north west to south east across the northern and southern parts of the monument respectively, the surfaces of the north-south footpath along the western side of the monument and of the Forestry Commission's Haygate car park at the northern end of it, the sign boards in the Haygate car park and in the Ellerburn Banks Nature Reserve, the bench and its concrete supporting platform adjacent to the footpath along the southern part of the monument and all fence posts along modern field boundaries at the northern, western and southern ends of the monument and at the southern end of the Haygate car park; however, the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Lax, A, The Moor Dike, Wykeham Forest. Archaeological survey report, (1996)
Northern Archaeological Associates, , North York Moors Forest Survey Phase Two, (1996)
Northern Archaeological Associates, , North York Moors Forest Survey Phase Two, (1996)
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 29-32
Stead, I M, 'Antiquity' in A Chariot Burial on Pexton Moor, North Riding, , Vol. 33, (1959), 214-216
Title: 2nd Edition 25" Ordnance Survey sheet 92/5 Source Date: 1912 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

National Grid Reference: SE 85026 86300, SE 85095 84759


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This copy shows the entry on 25-Sep-2018 at 06:32:37.

End of official listing