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Cross dyke and adjacent saucer barrow 850m south east of Ditchling Cross: part of Plumpton Plain round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in East Chiltington, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8966 / 50°53'47"N

Longitude: -0.0554 / 0°3'19"W

OS Eastings: 536845.381372

OS Northings: 112595.411948

OS Grid: TQ368125

Mapcode National: GBR KPL.QSV

Mapcode Global: FRA B6SQ.S7Z

Entry Name: Cross dyke and adjacent saucer barrow 850m south east of Ditchling Cross: part of Plumpton Plain round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008159

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24384

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, and a saucer barrow situated at the north western end of the
cross dyke, one of a group of barrows forming a linear round barrow cemetery.
The cross dyke is a north west-south east orientated ditch 50m long, 4.3m wide
and 0.55m deep, flanked on the east side by a bank 5.8m wide and surviving to
a height of 0.2m 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.
Situated 4m to the north west, the saucer barrow has a circular mound
6.6m in diameter and 0.2m high. Surrounding the mound is a shallow ditch 2m
wide encircled by a low bank 2.7m wide and surviving to a maximum height of
0.15m. The form of the barrow resembles an upturned saucer.

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.

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds -
covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as
a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit
considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including
several types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier long
barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
contemporary or later 'flat' burials between the barrow mounds have often been
revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a
marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.
Saucer barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with
about 60 known examples nationally. They take the form of a circular area
of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and largely occupied by a
single low, squat mound. Of Early Bronze Age date, most examples were
constructed between 1800 and 1200 BC.
The cross dyke 850m south east of Ditchling Cross and the associated saucer
barrow survive well and will contain archaeological remains and environmental
evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was
constructed. The cross dyke lies to the east of a further cross dyke and is
situated within the linear round barrow cemetery of which the saucer barrow is
a part. 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


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Sussex Barrows, , Vol. 75, (1934), 258
colour county coverage 1:10,000, East Sussex County Council, (1987)
Title: TQ 3611
Source Date: 1978

Source: Historic England

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