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


Scorton Cursus


Nearest Town:Richmond Yorks (6km W)
OS Ref (GB):   NZ233009 / Sheet: 93
Latitude:54° 24' 10.01" N
Longitude:   1° 38' 27.72" W

Added by fitzcoraldo

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"The excavation of a section accross the complete width of the cursus, now reduced to a cropmark, produced evidence from recut ditches of at least two major phases of use. The first was indicated by narrow almost V-profiled ditches, which, having silted, were recut to a wide and shallow form. A low mound of indeterminate shape, possibly upcast from the ditches, was situated in the centre of the cursus, while a pit complete with a ramp was discovered as an external feature of the eastern ditch. A sampling strategy recovered a flaked stone assemblage of flint and chert, which included debris from knapping activities in addition to actual tools. In the area excavated no evidence was recovered for any recognisable form of occupation of any period." Peter Topping 1978.

The cursus was originally about 2.1km long and aligned SE-NW. Clustered round the monument were a string of ring ditches, one that was excavated had a single burial with a beaker. The cursus was cut almost dead straight over it's entire length and was approx. 30m wide. The entire site has now been destryed by quarrying.
Posted by BrigantesNation
14th August 2003ce

"A section cut accross the cursus by P. Topping of Newcastle University showed that both ditches had been re-cut from a norrower almost V-shape to a wide shallow form. A truncated post hole was found dug into the silting of the eastern ditch. A large low mound apparently lay within the ditches at the north west end of the cursus. There was also evidence here os external pits possibly holding upright timbers" YAJ 51, 1978 Posted by BrigantesNation
6th August 2003ce

The avenue measured 37.2m wide, with flanking ditches 4.10m wide on the east side and 3.90m wide on the west. Posted by BrigantesNation
4th August 2003ce

"NZ240005 Cropmarks revealed in aerial photographs taken by Prof. J. K. F. St. Joseph are threatened by gravel workings. The Richmondshire Excavation Group, directed by Mrs F. Thubron for the DOE sectioned the cursus mark to expose two double ditches 32 m apart, 1 m deep, and from 2-3m wide. Two of these showed evidence of re-cutting. No dating evidence was found. Several sherds of Roman pottery was picked up from plough soil near the circular cropmark." from Yorkshire Arch. Journal, Vol 48, 1976, P.2. Posted by BrigantesNation
22nd February 2003ce

"The site was discovered by Prof J.K. St Joseph in 1949, and from his series of aerial photographs it was possible to trace the course of the cursus for approximately 2.1 kilometers. Evidence from soil stripping and exacavations has shown that the monument extends even further to the north-west, the north west terminal not as yet having been discovered. The south west terminal, which shows clearly on the aerial photographs, consists of a straight transverse ditch which joins the two main ditches at right angles. Clustering around it was a series of ring-ditch crop marks. The aerial photographs also show a series of bleach marks between the ditches at the southern end of the cursus, which may represent a series of contiguous mounds. This area of the cursus also features what appears to be smaller outer ditches, although they may be restricted to the southern end of the cursus as they were absent in the excavated area.
Another noteworthy feature brought out by aerial photography is the accuracy with which the ditches have been laid out, so they are remarkably straight considering the distance over which they extend".

"from the evidence available at Rudston, it would appear that cursus monuments in Yorkshire developed during the late Neolithic, and flourished, as can be seen at Rudston in its magnificent complex of monuments, into the Early Bronze Age. It is within this local chronological framework that the cursus at Scorton must have developed, although not to as great an extent as the important centres of Rudston or Thornborough".

Extracts from;
Excavation at the Cursus at Scoton North Yorkshire 1978
Peter Topping
Yorkshire Archaeological Journal
Volume 54
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
18th July 2002ce