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The date of the Greater Stonehenge Cursus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

Julian Thomas
School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK (Email:
Peter Marshall
ARCUS, Sheaf Bank Business Park, Sheffield, UK
Mike Parker Pearson
Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
Joshua Pollard
Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
Colin Richards
School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK (Email:
Chris Tilley
Department of Anthropology, University College London, London, UK
Kate Welham
School of Conservation Sciences, University of Bournemouth, Bournemouth, UK


The Greater Cursus – 3km long and just north of Stonehenge – had been dated by a red deer antler found in its ditch in the 1940s to 2890-2460 BC. New excavations by the authors found another antler in a much tighter context, and dating a millennium earlier. It appears that the colossal cursus had already marked out the landscape before Stonehenge was erected. At that time or soon after, its lines were re-emphasised, perhaps with a row of posts in pits. So grows the subtlety of the discourse of monuments in this world heritage site.

Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd 2009

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