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


Ure-Swale Plateau

Sites in this group:

2 posts
Bellflask Stone Row Stone Row / Alignment
1 post
Berry Hills Barrow Round Barrow(s)
3 posts
Binsoe Artificial Mound Artificial Mound
1 post
Burtree Hill Barrow Round Barrow(s)
Burtree Hill Round Barrow Round Barrow(s)
2 posts
Cana Henge Henge
3 posts
Catterick Henge Henge
4 posts
Cowling Lane Round Barrow Round Barrow(s)
115 posts
The Devil's Arrows Standing Stones
2 posts
Great Crakehall Round Barrow Round Barrow(s)
Harlands Plantation Barrow Round Barrow(s)
5 posts
Hutton Moor Henge Henge
1 post
Low Barn Round Barrows Round Barrow(s)
1 post
Low Sides Bronze Age burial Cairn(s)
Moor House Round Barrow Round Barrow(s)
2 posts
Nosterfield Mixed Period Barrow Cemetary Barrow / Cairn Cemetery
3 posts
Nunwick Henge Henge (Destroyed)
4 posts
Phlashetts Stone Standing Stone / Menhir
7 posts
Pickhill Moated Mound Artificial Mound
4 posts
Stapely Hill Round Barrow Round Barrow(s)
100 posts
13 sites
The Thornborough Henges
Sites of disputed antiquity:
2 posts
Ailey Hill Artificial Mound
3 posts
Well Sacred Well


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Ritual Landscapes

The Later Neolithic and early Bronze Age is known (to EH at least) as the period of ritual landscapes. This is because it was during these times that Henges and other "ritual" landscape features were being created for the first time, their apparent lack of practical use, and relationship to burial grounds, typically represented by barrows.

At Thornborough there is a convincing argument for a ritual landscape. Between Borroughbridge and Thornborough there are six identical yet unique henge monuments, these all share the same size (260m dia.) and type (henge with two entrances and ditches on the inside and the outside of the bank). Four of the henges sit on an alignment with the Devils Arrows, at Boroughbridge, the other two forming a second alignment with the same.

Archaeological evidence shows that the henges had at least two distinct phases of construction, which resulted in their current shape. Firstly, approx. 2,200BC a classic type II henge was canstructed (two entrances, one outer bank, one inner bank), then the outer bank was reduced and a new bank created inside the original ditch, with a new ditch being constructed within this, thus forming their current shape.

The uniformity of construction, coupled with the alignments that they sit on, and other factors identified by archaeology strongly suggest that they were a part of a prolonged and co-ordinated "architecting" of the overall landscape.

It is probably the term "ritual" which is the most unfortunate (although I can't think of a better term) since it brings up all sorts of religious connotations which somewhat cloud the waters.

A good example of the case for ritual however, also comes from Thornborough, where a large number of polished stone axes from Langdale in Cumbria have been found. These were mainly in an "as new" condition, and seemingly were deposited in what would have been a boggy area slightly to the north of the complex (the current quarry). The evidence of them being unused and apparently deposited yet presumably of having some value (they travelled here from Cumbria, and were extremely well made) is suggestive of a deliberate and ritualistic deposition. Combining these two factors and one can see how this period could easily construed as that of ritual landscapes.

But the term ritual does not simply mean religious, look at football - it is possibly the largest example of ritual behaviour in Britain, many would say verging on a religion for some, it has resulted in the creation of thousands of large amphitheatres, and no doubt has resulted in the creation of many personal and group rituals, some may include the destruction of prized objects, yet it does not form part of our "religion" as such.

So, ritual deposits - an offering to the gods? or did the "axe team" lose the championship?
Posted by BrigantesNation
3rd October 2003ce
Edited 3rd October 2003ce


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This link argues that a prehistoric trackway passed by the Devils Arrows. Since it was written, Catterick henge has been discovered. A line drawn between Catterick Henge and the Arrows cuts through the centre of Cana Barn and Hutton Moor Henges. Furthermore, if extended south it cuts through Newton Kyme henge.

The fact that three of these henges are identical`and that they are built on a stright alignment gives strength to the suggestion that a dead stright overland route existed in the Neolithic period.
Posted by BrigantesNation
27th April 2004ce

Latest posts for Ure-Swale Plateau

Showing 1-10 of 350 posts. Most recent first | Next 10

The Devil's Arrows (Standing Stones) — Links

The Smell of Water - The Devil's Arrows

fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
10th December 2017ce

Thornborough Henge South — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Thornborough Henge South</b>Posted by harestonesdown harestonesdown Posted by harestonesdown
19th September 2017ce

Thornborough Henge North — Images

<b>Thornborough Henge North</b>Posted by harestonesdown<b>Thornborough Henge North</b>Posted by harestonesdown harestonesdown Posted by harestonesdown
19th September 2017ce

The Thornborough Henges — Fieldnotes

Just spent three nights here for the Mabon celebrations. Rituals aren't really my thing but camping besides an henge with two others in close proximity definitely is.

I'm not sure what the situation has been in the past but at the moment you cant walk the direct route between all three henges, the way from the central henge to the north henge is private property, the field contains an house, big disappointment. On a more positive note you can easily walk from the central henge to the southern one, though you do have to cross a small lane.

If you want to visit the northern henge (you really should, it's easily the best imo) then it's quite straight forward.
From within the central henge leave by the gate facing the southern entrance, as if you we're heading for the southern henge but turn right and walk along the lane a short while, 300 metres-ish and take the first possible right (on foot) up a narrow path that's rather overgrown (atm) with sloe berries, stay on it till you meet the road. Cross the road and follow the other lane till you are almost at the point where it dog legs, dip through the hedge here (on your right) and you're in the northern henge.
It's well worth the effort. ;)
harestonesdown Posted by harestonesdown
19th September 2017ce

The Devil's Arrows (Standing Stones) — Images

<b>The Devil's Arrows</b>Posted by carol27<b>The Devil's Arrows</b>Posted by carol27<b>The Devil's Arrows</b>Posted by carol27<b>The Devil's Arrows</b>Posted by carol27<b>The Devil's Arrows</b>Posted by carol27 Posted by carol27
5th February 2017ce
Showing 1-10 of 350 posts. Most recent first | Next 10