Stone Circle: OS Grid Reference – SE 0307 6406
Follow the directions to reach the Dumpit Hill A circle. From here walk about 100 yards ENE till you see an arc of small upright stones. If the heather’s in full growth it’s highly unlikely you’ll see anything; but if the heather’s been burnt away, the site’s worth looking at.
Archaeology & History
As with the small companion Dumpit Hill A circle more than 100 yards to the southwest, this site of similar dimensions was first reported by Arthur Raistrick in 1963, and then described — albeit briefly — in H.G. Ramm’s “Yorkshire Archaeological Register” for 1964, as “33ft in diameter. One third of the circle robbed but other stones standing.” And apart from that (with a repeat of the same info in Burl’s  magnum opus) little else has been said. But there’s quite a bit more to this place than what our mentors have written…
In a team visit to the site last week, it was Paul Hornby who called our attention to Dumpit Hill B. Thankfully the heather had been burnt back several months earlier, fortunately allowing us a better assessment of the place than Mr Raistrick’s initial survey forty years ago. Instead of just the 3 stones that he found here, we uncovered a near-complete ring of eight stones, arranged in a pretty decent circle (Thom would have classed it as Type 1). Paul’s attention was first drawn to an arc of three obvious upright stones and another laid down along the same arc. This arc then turned out to be a semicircle when he found another stone laid half-covered in the peat.
But then it seemed, if this was an authentic stone circle, we were gonna struggle to see the rest of it as the deep heather had grown up over the southern side of this semi-circle of stones. But thankfully, with just a little bit of stomping on the ground in the right areas, three other stones of similar size and stature were located and within just a few minutes this small arc of stones had become a full prehistoric ring — except perhaps on the eastern side, where there was a distinct gap in the monument. Michala Potts and Paul did come across a couple of stones in this “missing” section, but they were just small rocks and didn’t account for an expected 9th stone. If such a stone ever stood at this eastern point in the circle, it remains unfound.
Two of the stones (G & H) that were initially covered in heather, after we’d carefully peeled the vegetation back, had what seems like small packing stones at one end, where it seemed obvious they had stood upright. It was tempting to carefully stand each stone back up into position, but we managed to overcome the temptation! None of the stones are higher or longer than 3 feet. At least three of them seemed to have been set along their longer axis rather than being set in the tall upright position — but again, this needs verifying by excavation. (With good evidence, some students posit that upright stones are male; rounded, wider stones are female — though such a lay-out here seems unlikely)
An additional curiosity was found in the middle of the circle, where there was a small but distinct scattering of stones, very much like a denuded cairn. If this turns out to be the case (as seems likely) it’d mean a new classification for this monument. We could do with having another look at this place the next time the heather’s been burnt away, enabling us to find out more about its nature and function.
…And if you walk west down the slight slope, over the couple of small drainage-ditch streams (which they really should stop cutting into our moorlands) and then up the slight slope towards the trackway, stopping some 20 yards before it, you’ll find you’ve walked right into the middle of a previously undiscovered Bronze Age enclosure, or settlement: the Dumpit Hill enclosure. It’s pretty impressive aswell! (more on that in due course)
- Burl, Aubrey, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press 2000.
- Ramm, H.G., “Yorkshire Archaeological Register, 1964,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, part 163, 1965.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Huge thanks again to Dave Hazell, Paul Hornby and Michala Potts in seeking out & helping with this and the adjacent sites!
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian