Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cross dyke on West Harting Down, 650m south west of Foxcombe Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Harting, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9608 / 50°57'38"N

Longitude: -0.9127 / 0°54'45"W

OS Eastings: 476455.21624

OS Northings: 118492.069629

OS Grid: SU764184

Mapcode National: GBR CCQ.Q1P

Mapcode Global: FRA 86ZK.VMD

Entry Name: Cross dyke on West Harting Down, 650m south west of Foxcombe Farm

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015884

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29276

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Harting

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Harting St Mary and St Gabriel

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a north east-south west aligned cross dyke constructed
across a chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The c.270m 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.5m wide and 0.4m high. A short stretch of the central section of
the earthworks has been levelled by the construction and use of a downland
track which runs along the ridge, although the ditch will survive here as a
buried feature. At either end of the cross dyke the earthworks gradually fade
out as the ground slopes away.

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 disturbance by a later track, the cross dyke on West Harting Down
survives well and will retain archaeological remains and environmental
evidence relating to the construction and original purpose of the monument.

Source: Historic England

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