Danes Dike

Danes Dike ~ CRA A NO633097 1 364 20m

Danes Dikes 1710 Sibbald 1803, 78
Danes Dyke 1790s OSA, 171
Danes Dyke 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn

An embankment which once seems to have run from coast to coast, for about 1 km, a short distance inland from Fife Ness. According to NSA this is ‘the remains of a bulwark of dry stones, raised, it is said, in one night by the Danes, who having been defeated by the Scots at the water of Leven in 874, retreated eastward till they came to the extreme point of Fife, which they fortified in this manner, to defend themselves against the attacks of their victorious enemies ... Near this dike is the small cave in which the Danes put to death Constantine the Scottish King, whom they had taken prisoner in a skirmish as they retreated’ (OSA ix, 171; see also Constantine’s Cave CRA, above). In spite of local traditions, archaeological research has not revealed the origin or purpose of the dyke. In 2004 a narrow trench at NO6320 0983 revealed that ‘much of the upstanding dyke in this area is of recent build’, but that below that there was a concentration of large boulders which may represent a ‘stone-built linear feature at the core of the present dyke’ (NMRS NO60NW 5). Note also that a cist was found near the dyke in c.1913, which contained parts of a food vessel, the skeleton of a woman and a sheep’s bone (NMRS NO60NW7).

This place-name appeared in printed volume 3