Ancient Monuments

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Cross dyke on Springhead Hill, 780m south of Springhead Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Parham, West Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.9025 / 50°54'8"N

Longitude: -0.4921 / 0°29'31"W

OS Eastings: 506123.865419

OS Northings: 112524.389096

OS Grid: TQ061125

Mapcode National: GBR GK1.8DX

Mapcode Global: FRA 96VQ.B34

Entry Name: Cross dyke on Springhead Hill, 780m south of Springhead Farm

Scheduled Date: 10 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015723

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29259

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Parham

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Parham St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Details

The monument, which falls into two separate areas, includes a NNE-SSW aligned
cross dyke constructed across a chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex
Downs. The c.150m long cross dyke has a ditch up to c.7m wide and 0.5m deep,
flanked to the east by a bank up to c.4m wide and 0.75m high. A short stretch
of the central section of the earthworks has been levelled by long-term use of
the long distance route which runs along the ridge, although the ditch will
survive here as a buried feature. Towards the northern end of the dyke, a
c.43m long section of the earthworks has been completely levelled and any
surviving buried features disturbed by past modern ploughing, and this area is
therefore not included in the scheduling. Towards the south, the cross dyke
coincides with the western edge of a modern plantation, and a now largely
tumbled flint boundary wall has been built along the bank. The earthworks
gradually fade out here on the gently sloping ground. The northern end of the
dyke is formed by a more sharply defined and elaborate terminal, with a
second, short length of bank flanking the western side of the round-ended
ditch.
The modern fences which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

The cross dyke on Springhead Hill survives comparatively well, despite some
subsequent disturbance, and will contain archaeological remains and
environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it
was constructed. The cross dyke forms part of a dispersed group of broadly
contemporary monuments situated along the ridge, providing important evidence
for the relationship between burial pratices, settlement and land division in
this area of downland during the later prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England

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