Cross dyke and bowl barrow 310m south east of Wolstonbury Camp

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015226

Date first listed: 03-Nov-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 31-Jan-1997

Map

Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke and bowl barrow 310m south east of Wolstonbury Camp
© 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: Mid Sussex (District Authority)

Parish: Pyecombe

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 28582 13420

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.

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. The cross dyke and bowl barrow 310m south east of Wolstonbury Camp survive well, despite some later disturbance, and will contain important archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the ways in which the monument was constructed and used. The cross dyke and bowl barrow form part of a group of broadly contemporary monuments situated on Wolstonbury Hill, including Wolstonbury Camp (SM 27077) and a platform barrow c.120m to the north west (SM 27076). Their close association will provide evidence for the relationship between ceremonial and burial practices and land division during the later prehistoric period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a univallate cross dyke and a bowl barrow situated on a chalk spur which projects to the south east from Wolstonbury Hill, forming part of the Sussex Downs. The roughly south west-north east aligned cross dyke has a ditch c.4m wide and up to 0.5m deep which runs across the spur for a length of c.224m. The ditch is flanked to the north west by a bank up to 6m wide and c.0.7m high. Part of the earthworks have been levelled by a c.4m wide track which runs along the top of the spur and crosses the dyke c.70m from its north eastern end, although the infilled ditch will survive here as a buried feature. To the north east of the track, the ditch is flanked on its south eastern side by a slight counterscarp bank c.3m wide and up to 0.3m high. The north eastern terminal of the cross dyke is well defined, occurring at the point where the spur side falls away sharply. Records suggest that the ditch originally continued from the south eastern end of the monument for a further c.50m, although the earthworks have been levelled here by modern ploughing, and this area is therefore not included in the scheduling. The bowl barrow partly overlies the cross dyke and is situated just to the south west of a track. It has a roughly circular mound c.18m in diameter and c.1m high, with a large central hollow suggesting past part excavation. The mound is surrounded by a ditch from which material used to construct the barrow was excavated. This has become infilled over the years but survives as a buried feature c.2.5m wide. The north western side of the barrow and that part of the cross dyke which lies adjacent to the track have been partly disturbed by 19th century flint diggings. The modern fence which crosses the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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: 27075

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
ref 2, RCHME, TQ 21 SE 18, (1934)

End of official listing