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

Dorset Cursus (North to Martins Down)


The ancient river cliff mentioned earlier by Moss is in fact right next to a very convenient car park (a glorified layby), with a gate and access to the field containing the river cliff and a section of the Cursus. (See this photo of the information board at the car park, which doesn't feature the cliff but its to the SE of the car park). If the Cursus was a processional route then the processors would have had to fall down/climb this cliff as they precessed. The land just below it (the seasonal pond, with a modern wellhead in it) would have been very boggy in the winter. Not the ideal route for a procession.

If you want to read a very thorough and insightful article about the Cursus then I can recommend a book by Christopher Tilley called "A phenomenology of landscape: places, paths and monuments" published by Berg (1994). Chapter five "Ridges, Valleys and Monuments on the Chalk Downland" focuses on the neolithic monuments of Cranborne Chase and contains plenty of pictures and diagrams as well as readable prose. My local library has two copies (must be popular!).

This page is titled "Dorset Cursus (End)", although Tilley's opinion is that this is the (later) Start of the Cursus, with the SW terminal on Thickthorn Down being the actual End. Read the book to find out why.
TreeHouse Posted by TreeHouse
8th April 2005ce
Edited 9th April 2005ce

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