Cursus Monument: OS Grid Reference – SU 7669 7599
Archaeology & History
Barely visible nowadays, the site was described by archaeologist Steve Ford (1987) as, “a very convincing cropmark with markedly rectangular end with entrance gap” at its far eastern end. This once impressive looking cursus aligns east-west and is found amidst a cluster of other neolithic and Bronze Age monuments.
It was first discovered by aerial surveying in 1959, but still remains unexcavated (I think!). The dead straight neolithic monument,
“consists of parallel ditches 45 metres apart extending for at least 200m west towards lower ground. The eastern end has a (flattened) terminal with a single entrance, whereas the western end is untraceable beyond a modern field boundary.”
In Roy Loveday’s (2006) survey, this cursus was stated as measuring 250m in length and 35m across. Although the western end hasn’t been located, it’s highly probable that it reached to the River Thames a short distance away. An excavation at one of the three ‘enclosures’ beyond the eastern end of this monument, revealed it have been built in the late neolithic period.
Ford, Steve, East Berkshire Archaeological Survey, Berkshire County Council 1987.
Loveday, Roy, Inscribed across the Landscape, Tempus: Stroud 2006.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian