Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Double cross dyke on Upwaltham Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Upwaltham, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9065 / 50°54'23"N

Longitude: -0.6487 / 0°38'55"W

OS Eastings: 495104.2345

OS Northings: 112765.6727

OS Grid: SU951127

Mapcode National: GBR FHH.4SM

Mapcode Global: FRA 96JQ.32F

Entry Name: Double cross dyke on Upwaltham Hill

Scheduled Date: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018061

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31209

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Upwaltham

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Upwaltham St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a double cross dyke constructed across a chalk ridge
which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The dyke, which runs close to the
later boundaries of Slindon, Sutton and Upwaltham parishes, has two roughly
parallel ditches, up to 6m wide and 1m deep. The ditches are flanked by banks,
up to approximately 3m wide and 0.6m high. The roughly north east-south west
aligned cross dyke, which runs for about 430m across the ridge, undergoes a
sharp change of direction halfway along its length. The earthworks fade out
gradually at each end as the ground slopes away. Subsequent activities,
including woodland tracks and footpaths which cross the monument in several
places, have levelled short sections of the earthworks, although the ditches
will survive here as infilled buried features. Finds recovered from the
monument during an investigation undertaken in 1916 included worked flints
dating to the prehistoric period.

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 double cross dyke on Upwaltham Hill survives well, despite some subsequent
disturbance of the earthworks, and is a rare example of the more complex form
of this type of monument. It will retain archaeological remains and
environmental evidence relating to the construction and original purpose of
the monument. The cross dyke lies about 300m to the east of two Bronze Age
bowl barrows, the subject of a separate scheduling. These monuments are
broadly contemporary and their close association will provide evidence for the
relationship between land division and funerary practices in this area of
downland during the later prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Curwen, EC, The History and Antiquities of the Counties of E and W Sussex, (1918), 44-45

Source: Historic England

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