Prehistoric linear boundary on Wepham Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015716

Date first listed: 30-Jan-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric linear boundary on Wepham Down
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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: Burpham

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 06263 09936


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

Reasons for Designation

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

The prehistoric linear boundary on Wepham Down survives well and will contain important archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the construction and use of the monument. Around 500m to the south west is a prehistoric cross dyke, the subject of a separate scheduling. The close association of these broadly contemporary monuments provides evidence for different forms of land division in use on the Sussex Downs during the later prehistoric period.


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


The monument includes a mainly north west-south east aligned, `L'-shaped linear earthwork, interpreted as a prehistoric boundary, constructed across the south western slope of a chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The c.366m long boundary has a large bank up to c.3m high and c.11m wide, two short sections of which have been levelled by modern agricultural activity. The bank is flanked on its north western, upslope side by a ditch up to c.7m wide and c.1m deep. This has become infilled in places over the years, but will survive here in buried form. Around 300m from its north western end, the boundary turns sharply southwards. Both ends of the earthwork are formed by well-defined terminals. 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.


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

Legacy System number: 29249

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing