Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cross dyke 730m south east of Ditchling Cross

A Scheduled Monument in East Chiltington, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8966 / 50°53'47"N

Longitude: -0.057 / 0°3'25"W

OS Eastings: 536736.806688

OS Northings: 112586.360124

OS Grid: TQ367125

Mapcode National: GBR KPL.QDS

Mapcode Global: FRA B6RQ.ZK0

Entry Name: Cross dyke 730m south east of Ditchling Cross

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008158

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24383

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: East Chiltington

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Plumpton with East Chiltington-cum-Novington

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a cross dyke running across the crest of a ridge of the
Sussex Downs.
The cross dyke has two sections, the most southerly consisting of a north-
south orientated ditch 28m long, 3.6m wide and 0.5m deep flanked on each
side by banks 3.75m wide, surviving to a height of 0.15m above the surface of
the surrounding ground. At its northern end, the ditch ends in a well-defined,
rounded terminal, whilst to the south, aerial photographs show that it
continues beyond the surviving earthworks as a buried feature, although these
levelled remains are not included in the scheduling at present.
Ten metres to the north, the northern section of the dyke, orientated NNW-SSE,
consists of an 18m length of ditch 3.8m wide and 0.5m deep. The southern end
has no obvious terminal and the northern end fades out at the point where the
ground falls away to form the northern slope of the ridge.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km
long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or
more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges
and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial
photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and
analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans
the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used
later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial
boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities,
although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or
defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which
illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of
considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the
Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well-
preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

The cross dyke 730m south east of Ditchling Cross survives well and contains
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and
the landscape in which it was constructed. The cross dyke lies to the west of
a further cross dyke and is situated within a linear round barrow cemetery.
These monuments are broadly contemporary and their close association will
therefore provide evidence for the relationship between land division and
burial practice during the period of their construction and use.

Source: Historic England


colour county coverage 1:10,000, East Sussex County Council, (1987)
Title: TQ 3611
Source Date: 1978

Source: Historic England

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