Register of ancient monuments
Reference number 1018813
DESCRIPTION OF THE MONUMENT
The monument includes a late prehistoric enclosed settlement known as Meg Dike, 150m north west of Upper Hey House. It is in two separate areas of protection.
The enclosure has substantial banks and ditches on its south west and north west sides. The inner bank on these sides is typically 6m wide and 1m high, the ditch is 4m wide and 1m deep, and the outer bank is 5m wide and 1m high. The north east side of the enclosure has been disturbed by quarrying, and survives only as two short stretches of bank 5m wide and 0.4m high. Scammonden Road passes through the south east part of the enclosure, and the south eastern perimeter of the enclosure is visible south east of the road. This consists of two banks with a ditch between them, at the edge of the road. The outer bank passes under the fieldwall, taking the form of a curving lynchet at the north west edge of the field.
A track leads into the enclosed settlement from the north and is probably contemporary with it. A curving bank, 3m wide and 0.4m high, leads westwards from the north corner of the enclosure. This may be part of a contemporary field system.
Approximately two thirds of the interior of the enclosed settlement has been disturbed by quarrying.
Excavations on the banks and ditch on the north west side in 1975 showed that the ditch was cut into rock for a depth of 2.4m below the original ground surface. The original ground surface was shown to survive below the banks, and to have preserved evidence of possible early ploughing.
ASSESSMENT OF IMPORTANCE
The Pennine uplands of northern England contain a wide variety of prehistoric remains, including cairns, enclosures, carved rocks, settlements and field systems. These are evidence of the widespread exploitation of these uplands throughout later prehistory. During the last millennium BC a variety of different types of enclosed settlements developed. These include hillforts, which have substantial earthworks and are usually located on hilltops. Other types of enclosed settlement of this period are less obviously defensive, as they have less substantial earthworks and are usually in less prominent positions. In the Pennines a number of late prehistoric enclosed settlements survive as upstanding monuments. Where upstanding earthworks survive, the settlements are between 0.4ha and 10ha in area, and are usually located on ridges or hillside terraces. The enclosing earthworks are usually slight, most consisting of a ditch with an internal bank, or with an internal and external bank, but examples with an internal ditch and with no ditch are known. They are sub-circular, sub-rectangular, or oval in shape. Few of these enclosed settlements have been subject to systematic excavation, but they are thought to date from between the Late Bronze Age to the Romano-British period (c1000BC - AD400). Examples which have been excavated have presented evidence of settlement. Some appear to have developed from earlier palisaded enclosures. Unexcavated examples occasionally have levelled areas which may have contained buildings, but a proportion may have functioned primarily as stock enclosures. Enclosed settlements are a distinctive feature of the late prehistory of the Pennine uplands, and are important in illustrating the variety of enclosed settlement types which developed in many areas of Britain at this time. Examples where a substantial proportion of the enclosed settlement survives are considered to be nationally important.
Although the interior of the late prehistory enclosed settlement known as Meg Dike has been partly disturbed by quarrying, the banks and ditch survive well and will retain important archaeological information. It therefore contributes to the body of knowledge relating to late prehistoric settlement and land use in northern England.