Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cross dyke 600m north of Pitcombe Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Winterbourne Abbas, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.7104 / 50°42'37"N

Longitude: -2.5914 / 2°35'29"W

OS Eastings: 358336.160312

OS Northings: 90256.079589

OS Grid: SY583902

Mapcode National: GBR PT.PVJX

Mapcode Global: FRA 57G6.G7W

Entry Name: Cross dyke 600m north of Pitcombe Farm

Scheduled Date: 31 October 1957

Last Amended: 24 July 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011695

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22934

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Winterbourne Abbas

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Long Bredy St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a cross dyke, aligned north east by south west, situated
on the upper north facing slope of Black Down, overlooking the South
Winterbourne valley.
The cross dyke was mapped by the Ordnance Survey in 1902 and recorded by the
Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England in 1955. It then
comprised a bank 8m wide, 90m long and about 1m high, with a quarry ditch to
the west which was 4m wide and about 0.6m deep.
The cross dyke has since been partly levelled and the adjacent area of the
ditch infilled. Only the southern end now remains upstanding as an earthwork
and this has the appearance of a bank 8m wide, 12m long and about 0.5m high.
Archaeological field evaluation by English Heritage in 1996 within the
levelled areas of the monument has demonstrated the survival of remnants of
the bank and the preservation of the quarry ditch as a buried feature 5m wide
and about 0.8m deep.

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

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 some reduction in size, the cross dyke 600m north of Pitcombe Farm
survives partly as an earthwork and partly as a well-preserved buried feature.
The monument represents an unusual survival and is associated with a large
dispersed round barrow cemetery to the north east and a group of two long
mounds to the north west. Together, these monuments will provide an insight
into the history and development of the local landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 129
Kenny, J, Excavation and Survey of the Cross Dyke North of Pitcombe Farm, (1996)
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset, (1955)
Title: 1902 Ordnance Survey Edition
Source Date: 1902

Source: Historic England

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