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Flint mine and part of a cross dyke 300m south east of Tolmare Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Findon, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8674 / 50°52'2"N

Longitude: -0.4232 / 0°25'23"W

OS Eastings: 511055.684623

OS Northings: 108729.323618

OS Grid: TQ110087

Mapcode National: GBR GKJ.FV2

Mapcode Global: FRA B60T.0Z7

Entry Name: Flint mine and part of a cross dyke 300m south east of Tolmare Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 January 1935

Last Amended: 12 December 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015237

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29244

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Findon

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Findon, Clapham and Patching

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a prehistoric flint mine and part of a cross dyke
situated on the north western slope of a spur which forms part of the Sussex
Downs. Surviving mainly as an area of hummocky ground, the mine has been shown
by a survey carried out during the 1920s to contain at least 39 roughly
circular hollows up to 9m in diameter, representing the infilled pits from
which the out-cropping flint was extracted. These are surrounded by low,
overlapping spoil heaps representing the excavated material discarded by the
miners. The mine pits and spoil heaps situated on the eastern side of the
monument have been levelled by modern ploughing.
One of the pits was partly excavated during the 1920s, revealing evidence for
its infilling with chalk rubble during the prehistoric period. A worked-flint
chopper tool was also discovered in the pit fill.
The roughly east-west aligned cross dyke runs across the spur and the southern
edge of the area occupied by the flint mines. The earthworks, which form the
western end of the dyke, survive as a shallow ditch c.3m wide, flanked to the
south by a low bank. These have been partly disturbed by the flint diggings
and a later, north-south aligned track. The eastern continuation of the cross
dyke has been levelled by modern ploughing and is therefore not included in
the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Flint mines are found where, during Neolithic and Early Bronze Age times
(c.3500-1200 BC), nodules of flint were extracted from underground seams
within chalk deposits. There is no pattern or regular form to the arrangement
of mine sites as the shafts, pits or open-cast workings are closely related to
the underlying supplies of flint rather than an overall scheme of how the mine
should be organised. In general, however, the shafts, pits and spoil heaps are
closely packed together and sometimes even abut one another. In overall size,
flint mines range from single shafts and associated works covering less than
1ha, to large mines of several hundred shafts spread over an extensive area.
Flint mines provided high quality flint for implement manufacture in the
millennia before the widespread availability of metal; the discovery of
ceremonial deposits, including carved objects, in some shafts indicates the
importance ascribed to them by early prehistoric communities. The workings
were excavated by hand with antler picks and a selection of specialist bone,
antler, wood and flint tools. Extensive flint knapping floors, areas where the
mined flint was worked, are sometimes found within and around the mine area,
along with hearths and traces of timber buildings. Evidence of secondary uses
of abandoned flint mines is fairly common, and human burials dating from
Neolithic times onwards are regularly found in the upper fills of pits and
shafts. The hollows left in the tops of infilled shafts also provided suitable
areas for occupation long after the mines themselves had gone out of use.
The distribution of flint mines is largely dictated by the extent of the Upper
Chalk, which is the geological band in which seams of flint occur. Flint mines
are known in most areas of Upper Chalk outcrops and generally occur on the
tops of hills or ridges, or along their flanking slopes, from Norfolk to
Dorset. The earliest sites, dating to the Early and Middle Neolithic period,
are clustered on the Sussex Downs.
Flint mines are a rare monument type, with only around 20 examples known
nationally. One of relatively few classes of monuments dating to all phases of
the Neolithic period, they contain evidence relating to technology and work
organisation in the period and represent the source of the most commonly used
and widespread material available for making edged tools and implements. All
well-preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

Cross dykes are subtantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km
long comprising one or more ditches flanked by one or more banks. They run
across upland ridges or spurs and survive as earthworks and/or cropmarks
visible on aerial photographs. 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 acted as territorial boundary markers,
probably demarcating land allotment within communities, although they may also
have been used as tracks, 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. Comparatively few have survived to the present
day and hence all well-preserved examples are considered to be of national
importance. The flint mine 300m south east of Tolmare Farm survives well,
despite some levelling by modern ploughing, and part excavation has shown it
to contain archaeological remains relating to the original use of the monument
and the landscape in which it was constructed. The close association of the
flint mine with the broadly contemporary cross dyke, and with another
prehistoric flint mine and a bowl barrow situated c.600m to the south east,
provides important evidence for the relationship between mining activity, land
division and burial rites during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Curwen, E C, Curwen, E, 'Sussex Notes and Queries' in Probable Flint Mines near Tolmere Pond, Findon, (1927), 168-170
Curwen, E C, Curwen, E, 'Sussex Notes and Queries' in Probable Flint Mines near Tolmere Pond, Findon, (1927), 168-170

Source: Historic England

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