Flint mine and part of a cross dyke 300m south east of Tolmare Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015237

Date first listed: 22-Jan-1935

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Dec-1996


Ordnance survey map of Flint mine and part of a cross dyke 300m south east of Tolmare Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: West Sussex

District: Arun (District Authority)

Parish: Findon

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 11062 08736


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

Reasons for Designation

Flint mines are found where, during Neolithic and Early Bronze Age times (c.3500-1200 BC), nodules of flint were extracted from underground seams within chalk deposits. There is no pattern or regular form to the arrangement of mine sites as the shafts, pits or open-cast workings are closely related to the underlying supplies of flint rather than an overall scheme of how the mine should be organised. In general, however, the shafts, pits and spoil heaps are closely packed together and sometimes even abut one another. In overall size, flint mines range from single shafts and associated works covering less than 1ha, to large mines of several hundred shafts spread over an extensive area. Flint mines provided high quality flint for implement manufacture in the millennia before the widespread availability of metal; the discovery of ceremonial deposits, including carved objects, in some shafts indicates the importance ascribed to them by early prehistoric communities. The workings were excavated by hand with antler picks and a selection of specialist bone, antler, wood and flint tools. Extensive flint knapping floors, areas where the mined flint was worked, are sometimes found within and around the mine area, along with hearths and traces of timber buildings. Evidence of secondary uses of abandoned flint mines is fairly common, and human burials dating from Neolithic times onwards are regularly found in the upper fills of pits and shafts. The hollows left in the tops of infilled shafts also provided suitable areas for occupation long after the mines themselves had gone out of use. The distribution of flint mines is largely dictated by the extent of the Upper Chalk, which is the geological band in which seams of flint occur. Flint mines are known in most areas of Upper Chalk outcrops and generally occur on the tops of hills or ridges, or along their flanking slopes, from Norfolk to Dorset. The earliest sites, dating to the Early and Middle Neolithic period, are clustered on the Sussex Downs. Flint mines are a rare monument type, with only around 20 examples known nationally. One of relatively few classes of monuments dating to all phases of the Neolithic period, they contain evidence relating to technology and work organisation in the period and represent the source of the most commonly used and widespread material available for making edged tools and implements. All well-preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

Cross dykes are subtantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km long comprising one or more ditches flanked by one or more banks. They run across upland ridges or spurs and survive as earthworks and/or cropmarks visible on aerial photographs. 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 reused later. Current information favours the view that they acted as territorial boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities, although they may also have been used as tracks, 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. Comparatively few have survived to the present day and hence all well-preserved examples are considered to be of national importance. The flint mine 300m south east of Tolmare Farm survives well, despite some levelling by modern ploughing, and part excavation has shown it to contain archaeological remains relating to the original use of the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The close association of the flint mine with the broadly contemporary cross dyke, and with another prehistoric flint mine and a bowl barrow situated c.600m to the south east, provides important evidence for the relationship between mining activity, land division and burial rites during the prehistoric period.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric flint mine and part of a cross dyke situated on the north western slope of a spur which forms part of the Sussex Downs. Surviving mainly as an area of hummocky ground, the mine has been shown by a survey carried out during the 1920s to contain at least 39 roughly circular hollows up to 9m in diameter, representing the infilled pits from which the out-cropping flint was extracted. These are surrounded by low, overlapping spoil heaps representing the excavated material discarded by the miners. The mine pits and spoil heaps situated on the eastern side of the monument have been levelled by modern ploughing. One of the pits was partly excavated during the 1920s, revealing evidence for its infilling with chalk rubble during the prehistoric period. A worked-flint chopper tool was also discovered in the pit fill. The roughly east-west aligned cross dyke runs across the spur and the southern edge of the area occupied by the flint mines. The earthworks, which form the western end of the dyke, survive as a shallow ditch c.3m wide, flanked to the south by a low bank. These have been partly disturbed by the flint diggings and a later, north-south aligned track. The eastern continuation of the cross dyke has been levelled by modern ploughing and is therefore not included in the scheduling.

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: 29244

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Curwen, E C, Curwen, E, 'Sussex Notes and Queries' in Probable Flint Mines near Tolmere Pond, Findon, (1927), 168-170
Curwen, E C, Curwen, E, 'Sussex Notes and Queries' in Probable Flint Mines near Tolmere Pond, Findon, (1927), 168-170

End of official listing