The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Dane's Dyke



The name of this huge earthwork is misleading, in the past it was believed to have been built by Danish invaders, then more recently Hawkes and Dyer recorded it as Iron Age. Current opinion is that it was constructed in the middle to late Bronze Age as were many of the defensive/boundary banks and ditches that cover large areas further west on the Yorkshire Wolds, although it is entirely probable that it was later used and modified during the Iron Age and even as late as the 9-10th century AD.
The bank’s construction started with a layer of compacted stones which were overlaid with chalk blocks, rubble and earth and covered over with a layer of turf to a height of between 4-5 metres and a width at the base of about 20 metres. To the west of the bank the ditch, which has become partly infilled over time, is estimated to have been around 3-4 metres deep and up to 12 metres wide. In places the existing single ditch/bank is joined by another smaller bank on the western side, and occasionally a pair of banks.
It is interesting that the southern end of Danes Dyke starts (or ends) at a natural deep gully that leads down to the sea and it could be that this natural defensive feature was the inspiration for the earthwork which runs north for two and a half miles to the northern edge of the Flamborough peninsular. The enclosed area measures about 5 square miles and is naturally defended to the north, east and south by cliffs making it an ideal fortified settlement site although there seems to be no obvious signs of occupation except for a single barrow and I have yet to find any archaeological information for the area. The bank and ditch are cut in half by the B1229 and are further bisected by the B1255 a little further south – there is a car-park and paths down to the sea at it’s southern end and access through the RSPB reserve to the north - the map ref is for this northern end.
Chris Collyer Posted by Chris Collyer
25th June 2003ce

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