Ancient Monuments

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Cross dyke on northern spur of Bow Hill, 500m north east of the Tansley Stone

A Scheduled Monument in West Dean, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8974 / 50°53'50"N

Longitude: -0.8277 / 0°49'39"W

OS Eastings: 482534.661434

OS Northings: 111531.06167

OS Grid: SU825115

Mapcode National: GBR DFY.MJX

Mapcode Global: FRA 964Q.RBW

Entry Name: Cross dyke on northern spur of Bow Hill, 500m north east of the Tansley Stone

Scheduled Date: 4 August 1933

Last Amended: 26 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008374

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24392

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: West Dean

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Octagon

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 is an east-west orientated ditch c.94m long, 7m wide and 0.5m
deep, flanked on each side by a low bank. The northern bank is the more
substantial of the two, reaching a width of 5m and surviving to a height of
0.5m above the surface of the surrounding ground. The southern bank is 3m wide
and up to 0.2m high.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Beneficial land use over the years has enabled Bow Hill and Kingley Vale to
support one of the most diverse and well-preserved areas of chalk downland
archaeological remains in south eastern England. These remains are considered
to be of particular significance because they include types of monument,
dating from the prehistoric and Roman periods, more often found in Wessex and
south western Britain. The well-preserved and often visible relationship
between trackways, settlement sites, land boundaries, stock enclosures, flint
mines, ceremonial and funerary monuments in the area gives significant insight
into successive changes in the pattern of land use over time.
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 reused
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.
Despite some tree-root damage caused by current woodland cover, the cross dyke
on the northern spur of Bow Hill survives comparatively well and contains
archaeological deposits and environmental evidence relating to the monument
and the landscape in which it was constructed. The cross dyke is part of a
complex of linear earthworks partly enclosing the hill top and the Devil's
Humps linear round barrow cemetery, and is situated c.60m south of a hilltop
enclosure and a linear boundary. These monuments are broadly contemporary and
their close association will therefore provide evidence for the relationship
between land division, stock management and social organisation during the
period of their construction and use.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Curwen, E, EC, , 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Sussex Archaeological Collections, , Vol. 59, (1918), 49

Source: Historic England

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