Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59df476f6b-m8rdz Total loading time: 0.544 Render date: 2021-05-17T17:23:39.080Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true }

The Greater Stonehenge Cursus – the Long View

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 March 2013

Roy Loveday
Affiliation:
School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH

Abstract

The WSW–ENE alignment of the Greater Stonehenge Cursus appears to have been prefigured by the line of Mesolithic post-holes found in the Stonehenge car park. If this is not a coincidence, a means of transmission must be hypothesised since the posts could not have survived the 4000 years separation. The fact that a significant number of henges in western lowland Britain adopt the same broad alignment hints at a very long-lived mental template. That, it is argued, is likely to have been celestially triggered and tied to seasonal rhythms. Simple luni-solar calculation (akin to that determining events as disparate as the ancient Olympic festival and present day Easter) rather than precisely measureable astronomical events, would create such azimuth clustering. The focus on April sunrises or October sunsets argues for an association with the pastoral cycle.

Type
Shorter contribution
Copyright
Copyright © The Prehistoric Society 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Allen, M.J. 1997. Environment and land-use; the economic development of the communities who built Stonehenge (an economy to support the stones). In Cunliffe, B. & Renfrew, C. (eds), Science and Stonehenge. Proceedings of the British Academy 92, 115–45. Oxford: University Press.Google Scholar
Allen., M. 2004. Discussion: the development of a farmed landscape. In Ellis, C.J., 2004, A Prehistoric Ritual Complex at Eynesbury, Cambridgeshire, 91–4. Salisbury: East Anglian Archaeology Occasional Paper 17Google Scholar
Allen, M. J., Entwhistle, R. & Richards, J. 1990. Molluscan studies. In Richards, J., The Stonehenge Environs Project, 253–8. London: English Heritage Archaeological Report 16Google Scholar
Allen, M. J. & Gardiner, J. 2002. A sense of time: cultural markers in the Mesolithic of southern England? In David, B. & Wilson, M. (eds), Inscribed Landscapes: making and marking place, 139–53. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.Google Scholar
Allen, M.J. & Gardiner, J. 2009. If you go down to the woods today; a re-evaluation of the chalkland postglacial woodland; implications for prehistoric communities. In Allen, et al. (eds) 2009, 4966Google Scholar
Allen, M., Sharples, N. & O'Connor, T. (eds). 2009. Land and People. Papers in Memory of John G. Evans. Oxford: Prehistoric Society Research Papers 2Google Scholar
Barclay, A.Gray, M. & Lambrick, G. 1995. Excavations at the Devil's Quoits, Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire 1972–3 and 1988. Oxford: Oxford Archaeological UnitGoogle Scholar
Barclay, A. & Bayliss, A. 1999. Cursus monuments and the radiocarbon problem. In Barclay, A. & Harding, J. (eds), Pathways & Ceremonies. The Cursus Monuments of Britain and Ireland, 1129, Oxford: Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Paper 4Google Scholar
Barclay, A. & Hey, G. 1999. Cattle, cursus monuments and the river: the development of ritual and domestic landscapes in the Upper Thames Valley. In Barclay, A.. & Harding, J. (eds), Pathways and Ceremonies The Cursus Monuments of Britain and Ireland, 6776. Oxford: Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Paper 4Google Scholar
Barrett, J., Bradley, R. & Green, M. 1991. Landscape, Monuments and Society. The Prehistory of Cranborne Chase. Cambridge: University PressCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bradley, R. & Chambers, R. 1988 A new study of the Cursus complex at Dorchester upon Thames. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 7, 271–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brophy, K. 2000. Water coincidence? Cursus monuments and rivers. In Ritchie, A. (ed.), Neolithic Orkney in its European Context, 5970. Cambridge: Macdonald InstituteGoogle Scholar
Buckley, D.G., Hedges, J.D. & Brown, N. 2001. Excavations at a Neolithic Cursus, Springfield, Essex, 1979–85. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 67, 101–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Burl, A. 1976. The Stones Circles of the British Isles. New Haven & London: Yale University PressGoogle Scholar
Burl, A. 1987. The Stonehenge People. London: DentGoogle Scholar
Buteux, S. & Chapman, H. 2009. Where Rivers Meet. The Archaeology of the Trent-Tame confluence. York: Council for British Archaeology Research Report 161Google Scholar
Catling, C. 2009. Bluestonehenge. Current Archaeology 237, 22–8Google Scholar
Cleal, R. M. J, Walker, K.E. & Montague, R. 1995 Stonehenge in its Landscape: the Twentieth Century Excavations. London: English Heritage Archaeological Report 10Google Scholar
Darvill, T. 1997. Ever increasing circles: the sacred geographies of Stonehenge and its landscape. In Cunliffe, B. & Renfrew, C. (eds), Science and Stonehenge. Proceedings of the British Academy 92, 167202. Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
David, A. 1998. Stanton Drew. Past 28, 13Google Scholar
Evans, E.E. 1957. Irish Folk Ways. London: Routledge & Kegan PaulGoogle Scholar
Fox, H.S.A. 1996 Seasonal Settlement. Papers Presented to a Meeting of the Medieval Settlement Research Group. Vaughan Paper 39. Leicester: Department of Adult EducationGoogle Scholar
French, C. & Pryor, F. 2005 Archaeology and environment of the Etton landscape. Cambridges: East Anglian Archaeology 109Google Scholar
French, C. 2009. A landscape tale of two soil histories in lowland zones of England: the fen-edge of Cambridgeshire and the downland of Cranborne Chase. In Allen, et al. (eds) 2009, 88104Google Scholar
Griffith, W.E. 1960. The excavation of Stone Circles near Penmaenmawr, north Wales. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 36, 305–18Google Scholar
Harding, A.F. & Lee, G.E. 1987. Henge Monuments and Related Sites of Great Britain. Oxford: British Archaeological Report 175Google Scholar
Harding, J., Johnson, B. & Goodrick, G. 2006. Neolithic cosmology and the monument complex of Thornborough, north Yorkshire. Archaeoastronomy 20, 2853Google Scholar
Herring, P. 1996. Transhumance in medieval Cornwall. In Fox, (ed.) 1996, 3545Google Scholar
Hicks, R.E., 2007. Dún Ailinne's Role in Folklore, myth and the Sacred Landscape. In Johnston, S.A. & Wailes, B., Dún Ailinne. Excavations at an Irish Royal site 1968–1975, 183–94. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology Monograph 129Google Scholar
Hutton, R. 1996. The Stations of the Sun. A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford: University PressCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kendrick, J. 1995. Excavation of a Neolithic enclosure and an Iron Age settlement at Douglasmuir, Angus. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 125, 2967Google Scholar
Lawson, A. J. 2007. Chalkland: an archaeology of Stonehenge and its region. Salisbury: Hobnob PressGoogle Scholar
Lewis, M.E. 2010. Evolution of the calendar in Shang China. In Morley, I. & Renfrew, C., The Archaeology of Measurement. Comprehending Heaven, Earth and Time in Ancient Societies, 195202. Cambridge: University PressCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Loveday, R.E. 1989 The Barford ritual complex: further excavations (1972) and a regional perspective. In Gibson, A.M. (ed.), Midlands Prehistory, 2750. Oxford: British Archaeological Report 204Google Scholar
Loveday, R. 1999. Dorchester-on-Thames – ritual complex or ritual landscape? In Barclay, A. & Harding, J. (eds), Pathways and Ceremonies. The Cursus Monuments of Britain and Ireland, 4966. Oxford: Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers 4Google Scholar
Loveday, R. 2004. Contextualising monuments. The exceptional potential of the middle Trent Valley. Derbyshire Archaeological Journal 124, 112Google Scholar
Loveday, R. 2006a. Inscribed Across the Landscape: the Cursus Enigma. Stroud: TempusGoogle Scholar
Loveday, R. 2006b. The Valley of the Grand. British Archaeology 88, 22–3Google Scholar
Loveday, R. 2009. From titual to riches – the route to individual power in later Neolithic eastern Yorkshire? In Brophy, K. & Barclay, G. (eds), Defining a Regional Neolithic: the evidence from Britain and Ireland, 3552. Oxford: Oxbow BooksGoogle Scholar
Longley, D. 2004. The early medieval cemetery. In Lynch, & Musson, 2004, 106115Google Scholar
Lynch, F. & Musson, C. 2004. A prehistoric and early medieval complex at Llandegai, near Bangor, north Wales. Archaeologia Cambrensis 150 (2001), 17142Google Scholar
Mattingley, H. 1970. Tacitus. The Agricola and the Germania. London: Penguin BooksGoogle Scholar
McAvoy, F. 2000. The development of a Neolithic monument complex at Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire. In Dawson, M., Prehistoric, Roman, and post-Roman landscapes of the Great Ouse Valley. York: Council for British Archaeology Research Report 119Google Scholar
Murray, H.K., Murray, J.C. & Fraser, S.M. 2009. A Tale of Unknown Unknowns. A Mesolithic pit alignment and a Neolithic timber hall at Warren Field, Crathes, Aberdeenshire. Oxford: Oxbow BooksGoogle Scholar
Parker Pearson., M., Cleal, R., Marshall, P., Needham, S., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Ruggles, C., Sheridan, A., Thomas, J., Tilley, C., Welham, K., Camberlain, A., Chenery, C.Evans, J., Knüsel, C., Linford, N., Martin, L., Montgomery, J., Payne, A. & Richards, M. 2007. The age of Stonehenge, Antiquity 81, 617–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Parker-Pearson, M., Pollard, J., Thomas, J. & Welham, K. 2010. Newhenge, British Archaeology 110, 1521.Google Scholar
Pitts, M. 2008. Stonehenge, British Archaeology, 102, 1317Google Scholar
Richards, J. 1990. The Stonehenge Environs Project. London: English Heritage Archaeological Report 16Google Scholar
Rideout, J.S. 1997. Excavation of Neolithic enclosures at Cowie Road, Bannockburn, Stirling, 1984–5. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 127, 2968Google Scholar
Robinson, M. 2009. Ena Montana (Drap.) and Neolithic woodland regeneration in southern England. In Allen, et al. (eds) 2009, 198200Google Scholar
Ruggles, C. 1999. Astronomy in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland. New Haven & London: Yale University PressGoogle Scholar
Stone, J.F.S. 1947. The Stonehenge Cursus and its affinities. Archaeological Journal 104, 719Google Scholar
Stukeley, W. 1740. A Temple Restor'd to the British Druids. LondonGoogle Scholar
Sunstrom, L. 1996. Mirror of heaven: cross cultural tranference of the scared geography of the Black Hills. World Archaeology 28, 177–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Swaddling, J. 1980. The Ancient Olympic Games. London: British MuseumGoogle Scholar
Thomas, J. 2004. Materiality and traditions of practice in Neolithic south-west Scotland. In Cummings, V. & Fowler, C. (eds), The Neolithic of the Irish Sea. Materiality and Traditions of Practice, 174–84. Oxford: Oxbow BooksGoogle Scholar
Thomas, J. 2006. On the origins and development of cursus monuments. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 72, 229–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thomas, J., Marshall, P., Parker Pearson, M., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Tilley, C. & Welham, K. 2009. The date of the Greater Stonehenge Cursus. Antiquity 83, 4053CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thorpe, N. 1981. Ethnoastronomy: its patterns and archaeological implications. In Ruggles, C. & Whittle, A. (eds), Astronomy and Society in Britain During the Period 4000–1500BC, 275–88. Oxford: British Archaeological Report 88Google Scholar
Topping, P. 1982. Excavation at the cursus at Scorton, north Yorkshire, 1978. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 54, 721Google Scholar
Vatcher, F. de M & Vatcher, L. 1973. Excavation of three post-holes in the Stonehenge carpark. Wiltshire Archaeology & Natural History Magazine 68. 5763Google Scholar
Wainwright, G.J. & Longworth, I.H. 1971 Durrington Walls: excavations 1966–1968. London: Report of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London 29Google Scholar
Watson, A. 2002. Round barrows in a circular world: monumentalising landscapes in Early Bronze Age Wessex. In Brück, J. (ed.), Bronze Age Landscapes: tradition and transformation, 207–16. Oxford: Oxbow BooksGoogle Scholar
Whittle, A., Atkinson, R.J.C., Chambers, R. & Thomas, N. 1992. Excavations in the Neolithic and Bronze Age complex at Dorchester-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, 1947–1952 and 1981. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 58, 143201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Whittle, A., Healy, F. & Bayliss, A. 2011. Gathering Time. Dating the Early Neolithic Enclosures of Southern Britain and Ireland. Oxford: Oxbow BooksGoogle Scholar
Woodward, A. B. & Woodward, P.J. 1996. The topography of some barrow cemeteries in Bronze Age Wessex. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 62, 275–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The Greater Stonehenge Cursus – the Long View
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

The Greater Stonehenge Cursus – the Long View
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

The Greater Stonehenge Cursus – the Long View
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *