Cross dyke 730m south east of Ditchling Cross


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

East Sussex
Lewes (District Authority)
East Chiltington
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
TQ 36736 12587

Reasons for Designation

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 730m south east of Ditchling Cross survives well and contains archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The cross dyke lies to the west of a further cross dyke and is situated within a linear round barrow cemetery. These monuments are broadly contemporary and their close association will therefore provide evidence for the relationship between land division and burial practice during the period of their construction and use.


The monument includes a cross dyke running across the crest of a ridge of the Sussex Downs. The cross dyke has two sections, the most southerly consisting of a north- south orientated ditch 28m long, 3.6m wide and 0.5m deep flanked on each side by banks 3.75m wide, surviving to a height of 0.15m above the surface of the surrounding ground. At its northern end, the ditch ends in a well-defined, rounded terminal, whilst to the south, aerial photographs show that it continues beyond the surviving earthworks as a buried feature, although these levelled remains are not included in the scheduling at present. Ten metres to the north, the northern section of the dyke, orientated NNW-SSE, consists of an 18m length of ditch 3.8m wide and 0.5m deep. The southern end has no obvious terminal and the northern end fades out at the point where the ground falls away to form the northern slope of the ridge.

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


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


colour county coverage 1:10,000, East Sussex County Council, (1987)
Title: TQ 3611 Source Date: 1978 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1:2500


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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