Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cross dyke on Pashley Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Old Town, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.7625 / 50°45'45"N

Longitude: 0.2503 / 0°15'1"E

OS Eastings: 558799.595731

OS Northings: 98293.98093

OS Grid: TV587982

Mapcode National: GBR MVD.42T

Mapcode Global: FRA C7D2.CBQ

Entry Name: Cross dyke on Pashley Hill

Scheduled Date: 15 February 1967

Last Amended: 8 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013538

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27019

County: East Sussex

Electoral Ward/Division: Old Town

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Eastbourne St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a cross dyke which runs across the crest of a ridge of
the Sussex Downs. The cross dyke has a north east-south west aligned ditch
163m long, 7m wide and c.1m deep flanked on each side by banks around 2m wide,
surviving to a height of up to 0.5m above the surrounding ground. Around 42m
from its south western end, the dyke is crossed by a downland track which has
partially damaged the earthworks, and the rounded, south western terminal of
the ditch has been partially obscured by modern dumping. To the north east,
the dyke fades out as the ground falls sharply away to form the north eastern
slope of the ridge.

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.

Although the cross dyke on Pashley Hill shows some signs of modern disturbance
and has been partially damaged by scrub growth and a public bridleway, it
survives comparatively well, containing archaeological and environmental
evidence relating to the function of the monument and the nature of its
original setting. The cross dyke lies c.350m to the south east of a further
cross dyke and within an area which contains a number of round barrows. These
monuments are broadly contemporary and their close association will provide
evidence for the relationship between land division and burial practice during
the period of their construction and use.

Source: Historic England

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