Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cross dyke on Telscombe Tye

A Scheduled Monument in Telscombe, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8093 / 50°48'33"N

Longitude: -0.0106 / 0°0'38"W

OS Eastings: 540257.404974

OS Northings: 102964.355147

OS Grid: TQ402029

Mapcode National: GBR KQT.44B

Mapcode Global: FRA B6VY.RN7

Entry Name: Cross dyke on Telscombe Tye

Scheduled Date: 14 July 1966

Last Amended: 2 August 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009945

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25478

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Telscombe

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Telscombe Village

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes the surviving earthworks of a cross dyke which runs
across a ridge of the Sussex Downs, around 2km north of the present coastline.
The cross dyke, which falls into two areas, is a north east-south west aligned
ditch, measuring up to 6m wide and 0.75m deep, with a total length of c.290m.
This is flanked on its south eastern side by a large bank 6.5m wide, surviving
to a height of c.2m. Around 80m from its north eastern end, a small section of
the earthworks, and an associated Bronze Age bowl barrow, were levelled by
the construction of a covered water reservoir in 1909, and this area is
therefore excluded from the scheduling. The monument has also been partially
disturbed by the insertion of an associated water main along the length of the
ditch. A gap of 14m in the earthworks around 185m from the north eastern end
is interpreted as an original feature, with the continuation of the earthworks
to the south west showing a slight change of alignment. Aerial photographs
show that the cross dyke continues towards the south west from the south
western end of the monument as a below ground feature. This section has,
however, been levelled by modern ploughing and bulldozing, and is
therefore not included in the scheduling.
The modern fences which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling,
as are the water main markers situated on the bank of the cross dyke although
the ground beneath these features is included.

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.

Despite partial disturbance by the dumping of building rubble, by tree growth
and agricultural activity, the cross dyke on Telscombe Tye survives
comparatively well, retaining substantial earthworks, archaeological remains
and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which
it was constructed. Around 600m and 1km to the south west are two bowl
barrows. These monuments are broadly contemporary, and their association with
the cross dyke provides evidence for the importance of this area for
settlement, agriculture and funerary practices during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Ordnance Survey, TQ 40 SW 8, (1931)

Source: Historic England

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