One of the four cursus (cursii?) that cross the Rudston area, the southern end of Beacon cursus is just about visible as a crop mark next to the Roman road (Woldgate) that runs from Kilham to Bridlington. The same road passes over Beacon mound, a short distance to the west.
While there is not much to see on the ground, the views are interesting, the sea lies to the east, there are extensive views to the south, and the church tower to the north at Rudston now blocks the view of the monolith.
It's worth taking some time here to stand an the start (or is it end) of the cursus and ponder just what the ancients were doing here, its obviously an important area. Just what ceremonies were taking place here? What WERE they thinking?
I visited again in Autumn 2003 to see if the end of the cursus was any more visible in the freshly harvested field – it wasn't. There is a very slight raised bank that can only really be seen by walking backwards and forwards but totally vanishes on photographs. There is however a good aerial shot in Anne Woodward's book 'British Barrows, a matter of Life and Death' ISBN 0 7524 1468 2
The Rudston cursus group consists of four cursuses stretching along the bottom and sides of the Great Wold Valley. At least one end of each of the monument are to be found on the elevated chalk ridges which surround Rudston. The valley contains the Gypsey Race, one of the rare streams across the chalklands, and two of the cursuses (A and C) cross this stream. The Rudston group contains an unparalleled concentration of cursus monuments. Cursus A is the southern most of the group. The southern end of the cursus survives as an earthwork and the remainder is visible on air photographs as two parallel ditches. The cursus is 2700 metres long by circa 58 metres, it tapers to 41 metres at the south terminal. Cursus A is the only one of the group where both ends are visible, both of the terminals are square in plan. The earthwork was excavated in the mid 19th century by Greenwell and showed what appeared to be a round barrow raised upon the surface of a long mound. This excavation produced six burials (two with Beakers), only one of which Greenwell considered to be primary, and a considerable amount of pottery. These burials were inserted into the south end of the cursus monument in the early bronze age. Greenwell also found sherds of earlier Neolithic pottery, along with worked flint and animal bones on the ground surface beneath the bank of the cursus. A second excavation across the west ditch in 1958 recovered 24 small pieces of Beaker pottery from the bottom 18 inches of the ditch fill, excluding the primary fill, and 4 larger pieces from the primary fill. There is evidence to suggest that the ditch was recut at this point explaining the presence of the later pottery.
One of a group of 4 Neolithic cursus monuments. The cursus is visible as a cropmark along a dry valley floor. The end of the cursus is probably concealed by Rudston village. The cursus is 1550 metres long by 65-80 metres wide. It has been suggested that cursus B and cursus D may be part of the same cursus that bends somewhere under the village, but this is unlikely, as it would require a change of angle of around 60 degrees.
One of a group of 4 prehistoric cursus monuments, Cursus C is visible as a cropmark. The cursus is 1480 metres long and 50-60 metres wide, though neither of the terminals are visible. The western end of the cursus fades out near the York road and to the east the ditches disappear into the Bridlington Gate Plantation. Two trenches were excavated by Kinnes in 1978 but no artifacts were recovered. The cursus crosses Gypsey Race at right angles.
One of a group of 4 cursus monuments, Cursus D is visible as a cropmark. The cursus is 4000 metres long by 50-90 metres wide. The north terminal of the cursus is visible but the south end probably lies under the village of Rudston. It has been suggested that cursus D and cursus B are part of the same monument that join somewhere under the village , but this is unlikely as it would require a change of angle of around 60 degrees.