Cross dyke and platform barrow 460m south east of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015121

Date first listed: 01-May-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Nov-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke and platform barrow 460m south east of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: West Sussex

District: Horsham (District Authority)

Parish: Wiston

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 14225 11693

Summary

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

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.

Platform barrows, funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC), are the rarest of the recognised types of round barrow, with fewer than 50 examples recorded nationally. They occur widely across southern England with a marked concentration in East and West Sussex and can occur either in barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced group of barrows) or singly. They were constructed as low, flat-topped mounds of earth surrounded by a shallow ditch, occasionally crossed by an entrance causeway. Due to their comparative visual insignificance when compared to the larger types of round barrow, few were explored by 19th century antiquarians. As a result, few platform barrows are disturbed by excavation and, consequently, they remain a poorly understood class of monument. Their importance lies in their potential for illustrating the diversity of beliefs and burial practices in the Bronze Age and, due to their extreme rarity and considerable fragility, all identified platform barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance. Despite some disturbance by modern ploughing and scrub growth, the cross dyke and platform barrow 460m south east of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort survive well and will contain important archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the ways in which they were constructed and used. The monument forms part of a group of prehistoric, Roman and early medieval earthworks situated on Chanctonbury Hill, including a hillfort, Romano-Celtic temple, two cross dykes and a number of round barrows and hlaews or Saxon barrows which are the subject of separate schedulings. The close association of these monuments wll provide important evidence for the changing relationships between ceremonial and burial practices and land division in this area of downland over a period of c.1,500 years.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a cross dyke and a platform barrow situated on a chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The roughly west-east aligned, crescentic cross dyke runs across the ridge for c.110m and has a ditch c.5m wide and up to c.0.8m deep. The ditch is flanked to the south by a c.5m wide bank which survives to a height of up to 0.8m. Records suggest that the eastern portion of the bank and the western end of the earthworks have been levelled by modern ploughing, and the cross dyke will survive here in buried form. The eastern end of the cross dyke is formed by a shallow, rounded terminal. The platform barrow lies c.14m to the east of the eastern cross dyke terminal and has a circular, flat-topped platform c.11m in diameter and c.0.4m high, surrounded by a shallow ditch c.2m wide and up to 0.3m deep. The eastern side of the ditch has become partly infilled over the years, but will survive here as a buried feature. The modern fences which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 27098

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Bedwin, O, 'Britannia' in Excavations a Chanctonbury Ring, Wiston, West Sussex, 1977, , Vol. 11, (1980), 173-231

End of official listing