Multiple cross dyke on Heyshott Down

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015958

Date first listed: 14-Jan-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Aug-1997

Map

Ordnance survey map of Multiple cross dyke on Heyshott Down
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

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

County: West Sussex

District: Chichester (District Authority)

Parish: Cocking

County: West Sussex

District: Chichester (District Authority)

Parish: Heyshott

County: West Sussex

District: Chichester (District Authority)

Parish: Singleton

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: SU 89392 16506

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.

The multiple cross dyke on Heyshott Down survives well, despite some subsequent disturbance of the earthworks, and is a rare example of the more complex form of this type of monument. It will retain important archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the construction and original purpose of the monument. The cross dyke lies about 20m to the east of a Bronze Age bowl barrow, the subject of a separate scheduling. These monuments are broadly contemporary and their close association will provide evidence for the relationship between land division and funerary practices in this area of downland during the later prehistoric period.

History

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

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, which coincides with the boundaries of Heyshott, Singleton and Cocking parishes, has four roughly parallel ditches, the largest and longest of which lies towards the centre of the monument. This is up to 8m wide and 2.25m deep and runs for approximately 193m across the ridge. The ditches are flanked by banks which survive to heights of between 0.5m-2m. To the south, the largest ditch and bank ends in a sharply defined, rounded terminal. Elsewhere, the earthworks fade out gradually as the ground slopes away. Subsequent activities, including long-term use of the South Downs Way and a track which cross the northern part of the monument, and modern ploughing of the north eastern edge of the dyke, have levelled some sections of the earthworks, although the ditches will survive here as infilled, buried features. Overlying the cross dyke is a later parish boundary bank dating to the post-medieval period, constructed on the border between Singleton and Cocking parishes. 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: 29284

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing