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Dalmellington, Pickan's Dyke

Dyke (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Dalmellington, Pickan's Dyke

Classification Dyke (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Mains Hill

Canmore ID 42563

Site Number NS40NE 2

NGR NS 4821 0608

NGR Description NS 4821 0608 to NS 4890 0597

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council East Ayrshire
  • Parish Dalmellington
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Cumnock And Doon Valley
  • Former County Ayrshire

Archaeology Notes

NS40NE 2 4821 0608 to 4890 0597.

(NS 4821 0608 - NS 4890 0597) Pickan's Dyke (NR)

OS 6" map (1938)

Pickan's Dyke (NAT)

OS 6" map (1958)

A small part of Pickan's Dyke can be traced on Mains Hill; it is said to run all the way to the Solway Firth.

J Smith 1895

Pickan's Dyke, an old land-boundary, runs E from near the E edge of the graveyard at Dalmellington up to the crest of Mains Hill, descending again to near the confluence of the Parrie Burn with the Muck Water (NS 486 054) and thus encloses an area on the right bank of the latter which measures about 1/2 mile in length by 1/4 mile. The bank stands to a height of about 2ft and is spread to a thickness of about 12ft. It appears to have a slight ditch on the S side.

A Graham and R W Feachem 1956

A slender turf bank, very low and considerably mutilated, up to 0.7m in height and 4.5m in width. The ditch referred to above is only visible for part of its length, as shown on OS 6" (1938).

Immediately N of the dyke and running almost parallel with it for some distance are some old field banks. This dyke may also be the remains of an old enclosure bank as similar short linear features exist in the neighbourhood.

From A to B (NS 4821 0608 to NS 4840 0613) it appears as a low, badly mutilated bank, with no traces of a ditch. At B, a shallow ditch appears and runs on the S of the low bank to C (NS 4865 0612) where both bank and ditch disappear. At D, (NS 4872 0608) the bank, low and spread, with a very vague ditch on the S, re-appears, diminishing gradually towards the SE and finally disppearing into moorland at E (NS 4890 0597).

Revised at 25".

Visited by OS (JLD) 16 July 1954

This boundary bank, which has now been effaced between NS 4824 0609 and NS 4829 0611, is of minor archaeological significance.

Visited by OS (MJF) 18 September 1980


Excavation (27 August 2012 - 27 September 2012)

A trial excavation was carried out on behalf of the Forestry Commission Scotland, on the linear earthwork known as Pickan's Dyke, Dalmellington. Three targeted trenches were hand excavated to recover information relating to the monument's date and form. Two of these trenches showed the construction of the bank and ditch, possibly completed as a single phase, with the upcast spoil of the ditch forming the adjacent bank. Trench 3, which was situated in a gap in the line of the monument, did not contain any archaeological features. Unfortunately leaving the question of weather the gap was deliberate choice during construction or has been subject to removal due to other processes such as agriculture. No artefacts were recovered in the course of the works.

Information from Oasis (rathmell1-136342) 26 March 2013

Excavation (28 February 2013 - 16 August 2013)

Archaeological excavation and monitoring works were carried out in respect to the development of the Mainshill carpark to support access to the national forest estate including Pickan's Dyke in Dalmellington, East Ayrshire. The carpark lay over a section of Pickan's Dyke itself and required a process of archaeological excavation along the line of the Dyke prior to monitoring works across the full carpark area. This work was hoped to add to earlier excavation works which had been carried out at the eastern end of Pickan's Dyke last year (Gordon et al 2012). The excavation works identified that the ground had been disturbed by a large amount of made ground and dumped material, so that little of the original bank material had survived. In contrast, the base of the ditch was revealed to still remain fully intact across the carpark area. The recording and excavation of what remained of the bank and the ditch did not recover any artefacts and little was found in dateable material. As such, the date of Pickan's Dyke still remains unknown. The monitoring works across the full carpark area, did not identify any significant archaeological features in the area beyond the Dyke itself.

Information from Oasis (rathmell1-153422) 19 December 2013


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