Nunwick Henge (Saturday, 22.11.03)
The three Thornborough Henges are aligned NWSE and that alignment, if extended more or less south, should pass through Nunwick Henge in an NWSE direction too. However, unless I was in error, I dowsed the energy line as taking an NS route along the western portion of the circle. Further investigation will have to follow.
The henge itself is almost invisible from the ground. It does not, for instance, appear on the 1854 map (whereas the even more invisible Cana Henge does). It took air photography in 1951 to discover it, and if you log on to old-maps.co.uk (feed in co-ordinates 432500, 474500 - then press the View Aerial Photo instruction on the lower toolbar when the old map appears) you can just make out a circle in the Getmapping plc. aerial photo, half in the green field to the west and half in the dark field to the right.
When we visited, the wheat had long ago been harvested, so we could make out the occasional bump in the field nearer the road (the westerly field). This I dowsed, finding the rather unexpected NS energy flow at 14 paces wide (= about 7 yards). I didn't want to invade the field to the east as it contained green shoots, so do not know if there are any energy indications there or not.
[SE 323 747] A new circle of Thornborough type at Nunwick, some portions of which are extant, discovered by Dr JK St Joseph, is visible on air photographs as a crop-mark circle of about 120 m. diameter. The site is very nearly on the alignment of the axis of the Thornborough Circles, though it is nearer to the Hutton Moor pair. Its measurement agrees well with the diameter of the inner ditch of the central Thornborough circle. (1)
The slight remains of the circle, surveyed at 1:2500, are situated at SE 3229 7484. Its bank is traceable throughout as a broad swelling of indeterminate height, and the inner ditch is discernible, in places, as a superficial depression. There is no evidence of any external ditch, which is a feature of the Thornborough type of circle.
A preliminary excavation by Mr. D. Dymond of R.C.H.M. York, in 1961 added no additional information. Survey of 22.5.62 checked and correct. (2)
A large monument (Atkinson's Class II) visible as a low bank with internal ditch, and having two opposed entrances on the north and south, corresponding causeways being visible across the ditch on APs. Limited excavation was carried out by D. P. Dymond in 1961. The overall diameter is about 690 ft., the bank was originally 60 ft. wide, now much spread; present height 18 inches. The ditch was 45 ft. wide and 5 ft. 10 inches deep. There was originally a berm of 30 ft. between bank and ditch.
At an early stage in the silting of the ditch there was occupation in a limited area, revealed by a circular patch of burnt material 10 ft. in diameter, containing many pot-boilers. No dating evidence was found but three worked flints, two waste flakes and a scraper came from plough soil in the field to the south-west. (Now in Yorkshire Museum) [See AO/LP/64/11 & 12 - Plan & AP.] (3) SE 3229 7483. Henge monument 300m N of Nunwick. Scheduled RSM No 25585. (4)
Entry in corpus; No 212 Nunwick. Classic henge orientated NNW-SSE.(5)
This henge is visible as cropmarks and low earthworks on historic and recent air photos and lidar-derived images at SE3229 7484. It lies close to where Nunwick Beck and the modified channel of Hallikeld Stell meet before they merge with the River Ure. The henge ditch is approximately 7m wide and encloses a sub-circular area approximately 100m in diameter. There are opposed causewayed entrance facing near north and near south. The lidar-derived images suggest an outer bank that is some 30m wide but much of this is likely to be spread caused by medieval and later ploughing. Although there is a hint of a bank terminus near the northern entrance generally the bank appears to be continuous, again because of the impact of medieval and later ploughing. (6-8)