Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Multiple cross dyke on Harting Downs, 570m east of Down Place

A Scheduled Monument in Harting, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9598 / 50°57'35"N

Longitude: -0.8664 / 0°51'58"W

OS Eastings: 479713.101878

OS Northings: 118430.500933

OS Grid: SU797184

Mapcode National: GBR CCS.PT2

Mapcode Global: FRA 962K.VP3

Entry Name: Multiple cross dyke on Harting Downs, 570m east of Down Place

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015885

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29277

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-south aligned, multiple cross dyke constructed
across a chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The dyke has four
roughly parallel ditches, the longest of which lies to the east. This is up to
c.6m wide and c.0.5m deep and runs for c.200m across the ridge before
gradually fading out as the ground falls away. Three of the ditches are
flanked to the east by banks up to c.5m wide and c.1m high. Subsequent
activities, including long term use of two modern tracks which cross the
monument, have levelled some sections of the earthworks, although the ditches
will survive here as buried features.

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 multiple cross dyke on Harting Downs survives well, despite some
subsequent levelling of the earthworks, and is a rare example of the more
complex form of this monument type. It will retain archaeological remains and
environmental evidence relating to the construction and original purpose of
the monument. The cross dyke lies c.1km to the west of the hilltop enclosure
known as Beacon Hill Camp. These monuments are broadly contemporary and their
close association will provide evidence for the relationship between land
division and settlement in this area of downland during the later prehistoric

Source: Historic England

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