Cross dyke on Steep Down, 600m north east of Titch Hill Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018565

Date first listed: 21-Jan-1999

Map

Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke on Steep Down, 600m north east of Titch Hill Farm
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Location

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

County: West Sussex

District: Adur (District Authority)

Parish: Sompting

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 16870 06888

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 cross dyke on Steep Down, 600m north east of Titch Hill Farm survives comparatively well, despite some later disturbance, and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the original function of the monument and its construction. This cross dyke together with the one 700m to the north and other broadly contemporary monuments in this area of downland, provide important information about the use of the landscape for settlement, burial and agriculture during the later prehistoric period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the south western part of a cross dyke constructed across a chalk spur which projects to the south east from a hill which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The monument is one of a pair of cross dykes on Steep Down; the other is situated around 700m to the north and is the subject of a separate scheduling. The roughly south west-north east aligned, gently curving cross dyke survives as an approximately 346m long ditch up to about 6m wide and 1m deep, flanked to the south east by a bank up to about 5m wide and 0.7m high. Towards the north eastern end of the monument, a short section of the earthworks has been disturbed by a track which crosses the dyke at an angle, and the south eastern edge of the earthwork has been disturbed by past modern ploughing. The cross dyke continues across the spur to the north east, but this section has been heavily disturbed by past modern landfill operations and is therefore not included in the scheduling.

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: 31214

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Frere, S, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in A Survey of Archaeology near Lancing, , Vol. 81, (1940), 150-158

End of official listing