Report number: 103/2011

Title Stonehenge World Heritage Site Landscape Project: The Greater Cursus, Durrington, Wiltshire
Summary In 2010 the Research Department of English Heritage undertook the first detailed analytical earthwork survey of the Stonehenge Cursus. Dating to the early Neolithic period, the Cursus is one of the oldest monuments in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. The monument is defined by a bank and ditch of varying preservation which forms a rectangular enclosure around 100m wide and extending nearly 3km from Winterbourne Stoke Down in the west to King Barrow Ridge in the east. There is possible evidence that the bank was constructed in sections and that changes in the alignment indicate attempts to relate the monument to natural features. Although a number of gaps exist, notably in Stonehenge Bottom, no definite evidence for an entrance was discovered. One view is that the monument was used as a processional routeway, providing changing views of the surrounding landscape along its length. Computer modelling of the relationship of the monument to the valley system also suggests that the monument may have been a territorial marker controlling access along the valleys to a discrete block of higher ground to the north.
Series Research Department Reports
Pages 56
  • Bowden, M
  • Field, D
  • Pearson, T
Keywords Analytical Landscape Survey ,  Bronze Age ,  Field System ,  GIS ,  Landscape Park ,  Neolithic ,  Prehistoric