A 210m length of Devil's Ditch running east from Chichester Main Road to Pook Lane

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1005877

Date first listed: 24-Jan-1935

Location Description: Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Map

Ordnance survey map of A 210m length of Devil's Ditch running east from Chichester Main Road to Pook Lane
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1005877 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 13-Dec-2018 at 02:34:05.

Location

Location Description: Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: West Sussex

District: Chichester (District Authority)

Parish: Lavant

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: SU 85818 08156

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying from between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction often spans at least a millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use from the Bronze Age; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection. The 210m length of Devil's Ditch running east from Chichester Main Road to Pook Lane survives well. It will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the earthwork and the landscape in which it was constructed.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a 210m length of Devil's Ditch, also known as the Devil's Dyke, a prehistoric linear boundary surviving as an earthwork and below-ground archaeological remains. It is situated on gently sloping ground in the village of East Levant. The earthwork is denoted by a bank, which is up to 3m high. The ditch on the north side of bank is not visible in this section of the Dyke, but is thought to survive as a buried feature, having become in-filled over the years. This length of the Devil's Ditch runs east from Chichester Main Road, passing north of playing fields before ending at Pook Lane where it is met at a right angle by a north-south aligned entrenchment, which finishes at this point. The Devil's Ditch in Sussex has been documented by antiquarians since at least the 18th century. It is part of a group of linear earthworks on the gravel plain between the foot of the South Downs and Chichester Harbour. The entrenchments run from Lavant to Boxgrove and appear to enclose the area of the coastal plain to the south. It has been suggested that these marked out a high status, proto-urban tribal settlement (or 'oppidum') preceding the Roman invasion. The Devil's Ditch is thought to date to the Late Iron Age (about 100 BC - AD 43) but was recut and extended in places during the medieval period. The name of the entrenchment is derived from a local tradition, which holds that the ditch was the work of the devil in an attempt to channel the sea and flood the churches of Sussex. The monument excludes all modern fences and fence posts, gates and gate posts but the ground beneath these features is included.

Sources: West Sussex HER 1940 - MWS3239. NMR LINEAR 34. PastScape 1065548. Hamilton, S and Gregory, K. 2000. Updating the Sussex Iron Age. In Sussex Archaeological Collections 138, pp 63 & 66.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: WS 81

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

End of official listing