The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Mayburgh Henge



Details of henge on Pastscape

Mayburgh Henge is a Late Neolithic henge monument surviving as an earthwork, one of three in close proximity between the Rivers Eamont and Lowther. The earthworks were surveyed in 1988 and some geophysical survey also undertaken. The earthwork is defined by an almost circular bank which is up to 45 metres wide and 7.3 metres high, surrounding an internal area up to 90 metres in diameter. The bank is made up almost entirely of water-worn stones. Unusually for a site of this type there is no surrounding ditch. A single entrance exists on the eastern side. The interior is level, and a single standing stone is located near the centre. The geophysical survey identified several anomalies in the interior, although interpretation is difficult. A magnetic anomaly at the base of, and concentric to, the inner side of the bank could be a narrow ditch, or a negative lynchet associated with ploughing in the interior. An erratic series of pit-like features could be burials, pits, or former stone settings. One group is clustered to the south east of the standing stone, in an area where Dugdale recorded a stone setting in the later 17th century. In the early 18th century, William Stukeley suggested that there had been two concentric stone circles, but the anomalies do not seem to corroborate this. No excavations are known to have occurred, but Stukeley recorded that a "brass celt" had been found there, while in 1879 part of a stone axe was found near the entrance. As with the other two sites in the group, classification as a henge is not without its difficulties, but at present offers the most plausible interpretation. The function of such large monuments is not fully understood, although it is thought that they played a role in social or ritual activities, perhaps involving trade or astronomical observations. As part of the millennium celebrations in 2000 a large stone monolith was erected nearby. The monument which is now in the care of English Heritage.
Chance Posted by Chance
4th January 2015ce

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