Category Archives: Cursus Monuments

These are very old (early to mid-neolithic) and very large linear features stretching across the landscape, irrespective of natural obstacles, running (sometimes) dead straight for anything between a few hundred yards to several miles. ‘Alignments’ appear to be one of the primary features of this type of monument, which seem to be related to early long-barrows and tombs. The notion of their relationship with water and death is likely. Modern archaeo-speculation links them with stellar, solar and lunar alignments. They were very likely ceremonial causeways with multifunctional use. The word ‘cursus’ was first used to describe these giant monuments by Will Stukeley in the 17th century – after the notion that they might have been old horse-racing courses; but from Stukeley onwards, very little was said about them (apart from occasional essays in specialist journals) until the late 20th century. Independent archaeologist and psychoanthropology writer, Paul Devereux (1989), wrote one of the first concise surveys of cursus monuments; since then perhaps the best overview has been Roy Loveday’s 2006 work, showing their mythic relationships with death and certain topographical features (ideas propounded by Devereux years earlier).

Stratford St. Mary Cursus, Suffolk

Cursus Monument:  OS Grid Reference – TM 0486 3433 Archaeology & History This short and dead straight cursus monument was first described in John Hedges’ (1981) survey, and later mentioned in Harding & Lee’s (1987) corpus on British henges as … Continue reading

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Rudston ‘D’ Cursus, East Yorkshire

Cursus: OS Grid Reference – TA 099 717 to TA 096 679 Archaeology & History To the north of Rudston village and its giant standing stone, running roughly parallel with the divinatory waters of the Gypsey Race river and passing … Continue reading

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Rudston ‘C’ Cursus, East Yorkshire

Cursus:  OS Grid Reference – TA 0914 6809 – TA 1014 6803 Archaeology & History Of the four giant linear cursus monuments that were laid out around the landscape that holds Britain’s largest standing stone—the Rudston monolith—this one, the Rudston ‘C’ … Continue reading

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Benson Cursus, Benson, Oxfordshire

Cursus Monument:  OS Grid Reference – SU 624 910 to SU 629 919 Also Known as: Crowmarsh Cursus Archaeology & History Any remains of this once sacred site are now beneath the airport between Benson and Ewelme, a couple of … Continue reading

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Rudston ‘A’ Cursus, East Yorkshire

Cursus:  OS Grid Reference — TA 0998 6577 to TA 1016 6802 Also known as: Beacon Cursus Rudston Cursus 1 Woldgate Cursus Archaeology & History The site has been known about for nearly 150 years, albeit mistakenly as a series of prehistoric … Continue reading

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Rudston B Cursus, East Yorkshire

Cursus:  OS Grid Reference – TA 0805 6697 to TA 0944 6755  Rudston Cursus 2 Archaeology & History One of the four (known) cursus monuments around Rudston: this one stretches between the Ordnance Survey coordinates TA 081669 near Kilham Grange … Continue reading

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Potlock Cursus, Findern, Derbyshire

Cursus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SK 314 287 to SK 321 289 Also known as: Findern Cursus Findern-Willington Cursus Potlocks Cursus Twyford Cursus Archaeology & History Destroyed by the usual mixture of intensive farming practices and the self-righteous advance … Continue reading

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Stanwell Cursus, Heathrow, Surrey

Cursus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – TQ 0545 7431 to TQ 0448 7782 Also Known as: Heathrow Cursus Archaeology & History Running roughly north-to-south, this cursus was 2¼ miles long (3600 metres) and comprised of two linear sections from a … Continue reading

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Scorton Cursus, North Yorkshire

Cursus:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 239 006 Archaeology & History A huge linear monument that could once be found on the flats just north of the B6271 road running between the villages of Scorton and Brompton-on-Swale, east of the … Continue reading

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Springfield Cursus, Chelmsford, Essex

Cursus Monument (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – TL 735 084 Also Known as: Springfield Barnes Cursus Archaeology & History The first cursus monument discovered in Essex, archaeologists were fortunate when they came to excavate the site in 1979 as they … Continue reading

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