Cross dyke on Telscombe Tye


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke on Telscombe Tye
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Oct-2019 at 14:09:19.


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

East Sussex
Lewes (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
TQ 40250 02959, TQ 40300 03069

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.

Despite partial disturbance by the dumping of building rubble, by tree growth and agricultural activity, the cross dyke on Telscombe Tye survives comparatively well, retaining substantial earthworks, archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. Around 600m and 1km to the south west are two bowl barrows. These monuments are broadly contemporary, and their association with the cross dyke provides evidence for the importance of this area for settlement, agriculture and funerary practices during the prehistoric period.


The monument includes the surviving earthworks of a cross dyke which runs across a ridge of the Sussex Downs, around 2km north of the present coastline. The cross dyke, which falls into two areas, is a north east-south west aligned ditch, measuring up to 6m wide and 0.75m deep, with a total length of c.290m. This is flanked on its south eastern side by a large bank 6.5m wide, surviving to a height of c.2m. Around 80m from its north eastern end, a small section of the earthworks, and an associated Bronze Age bowl barrow, were levelled by the construction of a covered water reservoir in 1909, and this area is therefore excluded from the scheduling. The monument has also been partially disturbed by the insertion of an associated water main along the length of the ditch. A gap of 14m in the earthworks around 185m from the north eastern end is interpreted as an original feature, with the continuation of the earthworks to the south west showing a slight change of alignment. Aerial photographs show that the cross dyke continues towards the south west from the south western end of the monument as a below ground feature. This section has, however, been levelled by modern ploughing and bulldozing, and is therefore not included in the scheduling. The modern fences which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling, as are the water main markers situated on the bank of the cross dyke although the ground beneath these features is included.

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:


Ordnance Survey, TQ 40 SW 8, (1931)


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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