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Oxmoor and Givendale Dikes: prehistoric linear boundaries and associated features

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: Oxmoor and Givendale Dikes: prehistoric linear boundaries and associated features

List entry Number: 1020834

Location

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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Allerston

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Ebberston and Yedingham

National Park: NORTH YORK MOORS

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 10-Aug-1923

Date of most recent amendment: 20-May-2003

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 35443

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 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 or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for 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 of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. The eastern Tabular Hills is an area which has many networks of prehistoric land boundaries. These are thought to represent systems of territorial land division which were constructed to augment natural divisions of the landscape by river valleys and watersheds. The Dalby Forest and Scamridge areas have a particular concentration which is thought to have originated in the Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age, earlier than most other prehistoric boundary systems on the Tabular Hills. The networks within this concentration, and many of their component boundaries, are notably complex and are of considerable importance for understanding the development of later prehistoric society in eastern Yorkshire. Despite limited disturbance, the Oxmoor and Givendale Dikes have survived well; the northern part of the Givendale Dike is in an excellent state of preservation. Important environmental evidence which can be used to date the boundaries 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. Stratigraphic relationships will survive between the components of the boundaries and between the different boundaries and will provide evidence for their sequence of construction and development.

History

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

Details

The monument includes three prehistoric linear boundaries which are situated on the southern slopes of the Tabular Hills. Also included are a round barrow, which is immediately adjacent to one of the linear boundaries, a segment of medieval hollow way which crosses another of the linear boundaries and the sites of a rabbit trap and a limekiln, both of which were constructed within parts of the linear boundaries in the 18th or 19th centuries. The monument is divided into two areas of protection which are separated by the public road. The boundary known as the Oxmoor Dikes runs approximately north east to south west between the top of the steep slope into Troutsdale and the head of Given Dale; at its north eastern end it turns more to the east. It has three steep-sided V-shaped ditches which run between four parallel banks and it has an overall width between 27m and 38m. The ditches are up to 2m deep, measured from the tops of the adjacent banks. The banks have a rounded profile and are constructed from earth and stone. The outer banks stand up to 1m high, but over the years, they have, in places, been reduced in width or partly levelled by ploughing in the adjacent fields. At its north eastern end, the Oxmoor Dikes terminate at the head of a steep stream gully, where a modern track has truncated the terminal. Towards its south western end, there is a boundary stone situated on the north western side of the north western bank, along the line of the boundary between the modern parishes of Allerston and Ebberston and Yedingham. Further to the west, a post-medieval limestone quarry has destroyed part of the central and north western ditches and the bank between them. A limekiln has been identified from the 1854 edition of the Ordnance Survey maps, on which it is shown in the centre of the quarry, along the line of the destroyed bank. Since its disuse, it has been robbed for stone and levelled, so that no visible remains survive above ground. On the south west side of the quarry, there is a modern track running north to south across the line of the Oxmoor Dikes; to the west of the track, a fragment of the north western bank survives within a field, and to the east of the track a fragment of the part-destroyed bank also survives. South of the quarry, the south eastern ditch and the banks on either side of it continue and turn to the south, ending at a modern field access track which truncates them. The segment of medieval hollow way runs north west to south east across the Oxmoor Dikes towards their north eastern end, cutting through all the banks. It is 3m-5m wide and up to 0.5m deep, with traces of banks on either side. At the north western side of the Oxmoor Dikes, the hollow way continues beyond this segment but becomes braided into five different routes. The hollow way is thought to have been established initially as a route between the monastic settlements at Lastingham and Hackness. The Oxmoor Dikes have also been breached by the public road and by four modern field access tracks. The second linear boundary runs NNE to SSW along the eastern edge of Given Dale. Formerly it had a ditch which ran between two parallel banks, constructed of earth and stone, and it had an overall width of between 13m and 22m. However, the northern part of the boundary has been ploughed so that the earthworks are only visible as slight depressions in the ground surface. The eastern bank has also been reduced by ploughing in the southern part of the boundary, but the ditch and western bank survive as earthworks, where the ditch is up to 1.4m deep, measured from the top of the adjacent bank. At its southern end, the boundary peters out as the slope into Given Dale becomes much steeper. At its northern end, the boundary turns to the north east to join the south western end of the Oxmoor Dikes; originally the boundary was continuous with the north western ditch of the Oxmoor Dikes and its flanking banks, but the junction is partly obscured by the modern field boundary and track. The boundary known as Givendale Dike runs north east to south west along the eastern edge of Givendale. Towards its northern end it runs away from the valley edge and turns more to the north, to run approximately parallel to the second linear boundary which lies about 100m away downslope. For the northern 500m the Givendale Dike has two steep-sided V-shaped ditches which run between three parallel banks and it has an overall width of 24m. The ditches are up to 2m deep measured from the tops of the adjacent banks. The banks have rounded profiles and are constructed from earth and stone. The outer banks stand up to 0.7m high, but towards the northern end of this section they have been reduced in places by ploughing at their edges. At the southern end of this section, where the boundary starts to turn to the south west, the western ditch and outer bank begin to peter out, but have been truncated by ploughing before their terminal. For a 520m section, the eastern ditch and flanking banks have been filled in and levelled by ploughing so that they are no longer visible as earthworks. Beyond this section, the Givendale Dike has a single ditch which runs between two parallel banks and it has an overall maximum width of 13m. The ditch is up to 1.3m deep measured from the tops of the adjacent banks and the western bank stands up to 0.7m high. However, over the years, the eastern bank has largely been levelled by forestry operations so that it many places it is no longer visible as an earthwork, although where traces survive, it stands up to 0.3m high. At its southern end, the Givendale Dike peters out as the slope into Givendale becomes steeper. At its northern end, the western ditch and flanking banks of the Givendale Dike were originally continuous with the eastern ditch and flanking banks of the Oxmoor Dikes, but the junction between the two has been obscured by a modern field access track. The Givendale Dike has been breached by one field access track towards its northern end, and by two forest tracks, towards the southern end. The rabbit trap has been identified from the 1848 edition of the Ordnance Survey maps. It was originally constructed on or within the eastern bank of the Givendale Dike, towards its southern end, but over the years it has collapsed and become levelled so that it is no longer visible. The round barrow is situated alongside the Givendale Dike on its north western side, in the section which has been levelled by ploughing. The barrow originally had a mound of earth and stone, but this has also been levelled by ploughing. However, the mound was surrounded by a ditch, and this survives below the ground surface as a subsoil feature, which is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs and has a maximum external diameter of 20m. 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 track crossing the Givendale Dike, all fence posts along modern field boundaries crossing and running along the monument and all field boundary walls crossing and running alongside the monument; 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
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 43-53
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 39-50
Rutter, J G, 'Transactions of the Scarborough and District Archaeological Soc' in A Survey Of Linear Earthworks And Associated Enclosures In NE, (1969), 5-11
Rutter, J G, 'Transactions of the Scarborough and District Archaeological Soc' in A Survey Of Linear Earthworks And Associated Enclosures In NE, (1969), 5-11
Other
AJC 002/26,29,
Title: 1st Edition 6" Ordnance Survey sheet 92 Source Date: 1848 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 2nd Edition 25" Ordnance Survey sheet 92/3 Source Date: 1912 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

National Grid Reference: SE 88871 86105, SE 89723 87364

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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End of official listing