Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British farmstead 480m north west of Devil's Dyke Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Poynings, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8819 / 50°52'54"N

Longitude: -0.2163 / 0°12'58"W

OS Eastings: 525571.547358

OS Northings: 110668.30224

OS Grid: TQ255106

Mapcode National: GBR JN8.L4P

Mapcode Global: FRA B6FR.X4Z

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead 480m north west of Devil's Dyke Cottages

Scheduled Date: 31 January 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017649

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27082

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Poynings

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Poynings Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a farmstead dating to the early Romano-British period
situated on a ridge of the Sussex Downs. The farmstead survives largely in
buried form and is visible as an area of hollows and uneven ground covering
c.1.75ha. Part excavation in 1935 revealed a circular, levelled area c.9m in
diameter, interpreted as a round house. Associated with the domestic building
were seven refuse pits containing oyster shells, pottery sherds and coins.
These indicated that the farmstead was in use around the period of the Roman
occupation (AD 43). Further buried remains associated with the farmstead will
survive between and around these features.
The modern fence which crosses the monument is excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath it is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Romano-British farmsteads are small agricultural units comprising groups of up
to four circular or rectangular houses along with associated structures which
may include wells, storage pits, corn-drying ovens and granary stores. These
were sometimes constructed within a yard surrounded by a rectangular or
curvilinear enclosure, and associated field systems, trackways and cemeteries
may be located nearby. Most Romano-British farmsteads in south east England
have been discovered by the analysis of aerial photographs. They usually
survive in the form of buried features visible as crop and soil marks and
occasionally as low earthworks. Often situated on marginal agricultural land
and found throughout the British Isles, they date to the period of Roman
occupation (c.AD 43-450). Romano-British farmsteads are generally regarded as
low status settlements, with the members of one family or small kinship group
pursuing a mixed farming economy. Excavation at these sites has shown a marked
continuity with later prehistoric settlements. There is little evidence of
personal wealth and a limited uptake of the Romanised way of life. Romano-
British farmsteads occur throughout southern England, but cluster on the chalk
downland of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. As the most representative form of rural
settlement in the region during the Roman period, all Romano-British
farmsteads which have been positively identified and which have significant
surviving remains will merit protection.

The Romano-British farmstead 480m north west of Devil's Dyke Cottages survives
well, despite some disturbance by modern ploughing, and has been shown by part
excavation to contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence
relating to the ways in which the monument was constructed and used. The close
association of two broadly contemporary monuments, the farmstead and the Iron
Age hillfort, will provide evidence for the changing nature of settlement
during the Late Iron Age-Romano-British period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Burstow, G P, Wilson, A E, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Excavation of a Celtic Village on the Ladies' Golf Course, etc, , Vol. 77, (1936), 195-201

Source: Historic England

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