Multiple cross dyke on Harting Downs, 570m east of Down Place


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015885

Date first listed: 12-Jun-1997


Ordnance survey map of Multiple cross dyke on Harting Downs, 570m east of Down Place
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: West Sussex

District: Chichester (District Authority)

Parish: Harting

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: SU 79700 18424


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.

The multiple cross dyke on Harting Downs survives well, despite some subsequent levelling of the earthworks, and is a rare example of the more complex form of this monument type. It will retain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the construction and original purpose of the monument. The cross dyke lies c.1km to the west of the hilltop enclosure known as Beacon Hill Camp. These monuments are broadly contemporary and their close association will provide evidence for the relationship between land division and settlement in this area of downland during the later prehistoric period.


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


The monument includes a north-south aligned, multiple cross dyke constructed across a chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The dyke has four roughly parallel ditches, the longest of which lies to the east. This is up to c.6m wide and c.0.5m deep and runs for c.200m across the ridge before gradually fading out as the ground falls away. Three of the ditches are flanked to the east by banks up to c.5m wide and c.1m high. Subsequent activities, including long term use of two modern tracks which cross the monument, have levelled some sections of the earthworks, although the ditches will survive here as buried features.

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: 29277

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing