Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cross dyke in Court Plantation, 600m south west of Wiston Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Wiston, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8905 / 50°53'25"N

Longitude: -0.3616 / 0°21'41"W

OS Eastings: 515328.41834

OS Northings: 111390.757101

OS Grid: TQ153113

Mapcode National: GBR HLQ.5CH

Mapcode Global: FRA B64R.6Y3

Entry Name: Cross dyke in Court Plantation, 600m south west of Wiston Barn

Scheduled Date: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018568

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31218

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Wiston

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Wiston with Buncton

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a roughly north west-south east aligned cross dyke
constructed across a chalk spur which projects to the north east from a ridge
of the Sussex Downs. The 50m long earthwork has a ditch up to about 4m wide
and 0.5m deep, flanked to the north by a bank up to 6m wide and 0.7m high. At
each end, the earthwork fades out above steep slopes.

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.

Although it has been partly disturbed by fallen trees, the cross dyke in Court
Plantation survives well as an earthwork and will contain archaeological and
environmental evidence relating to its original period of use.

Source: Historic England

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