Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cross dyke in Great Wood, 500m south west of Stanmer House

A Scheduled Monument in Hollingbury and Stanmer, Brighton and Hove

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Latitude: 50.8674 / 50°52'2"N

Longitude: -0.1085 / 0°6'30"W

OS Eastings: 533196.491268

OS Northings: 109246.004387

OS Grid: TQ331092

Mapcode National: GBR KPX.HCT

Mapcode Global: FRA B6NT.3K3

Entry Name: Cross dyke in Great Wood, 500m south west of Stanmer House

Scheduled Date: 24 April 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020385

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34308

County: Brighton and Hove

Electoral Ward/Division: Hollingbury and Stanmer

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Stanmer with Falmer, St Laurence

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a north-south aligned cross dyke constructed across a
chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The 78m long cross dyke has
a ditch up to 5m wide at ground level and partial excavation in 1962 and 2000
showed that this survives to a depth of about 1m below ground. The ditch is
flanked to the east by a bank up to 10m wide and 0.5m high. At each end the
earthwork fades out on the gently sloping ground. Finds discovered during
excavation suggest that the cross dyke was constructed in the Iron Age. These
include pottery sherds and worked flint.
Towards the centre of the dyke a narrow section of the earthwork has been
levelled by the construction of a later track. The buried ditch will, however,
survive beneath this modern feature.

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 cross dyke in Great Wood, 500m south west of Stanmer House survives well,
despite some subsequent disturbance, and contains valuable archaeological
evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was
constructed. The cross dyke forms part of a dispersed group of broadly
contemporary monuments situated along the ridge, providing important evidence
for the relationship between burial practices, settlement and land division in
this area of downland during the later prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Funnell, J, Sussex Past and Present: Stanmer's Ridge Dykes, (2001)
Funnell, J, Preliminary report on archaeological investigations..., 2000,

Source: Historic England

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