Record Details

NHER Number:18190
Type of record:Monument
Name:Cropmark of Neolithic cursus


A Neolithic cursus is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs. It is aligned southwest to northeast and is probably 380m long, its northeastern end being rather uncertain. It has clearly acted as the focus for the construction of other nearby monuments, such as the ring ditches at its southwestern end (NHER 11685) or the ring ditch and curvilinear enclosure which appear to lie within it (NHER 38477 and 38478).

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 206 360
Map Sheet:TG23NW

Full description


1986. NAU air photography.
Shows two diverging lines to southwest of circle which D. Edwards (NAU) interprets as a cursus.
M. Flitcroft (NLA) May 1993.

1992. Air photography.
Shows southwest end of cursus, a wedge shape with an entrance, adjacent to two circular enclosures NHER 11685.
E. Rose (NLA) 19 January 1994.

Part of large scatter NHER 33506.

6 July 1994. NLA air photography (S1).
Double concentric ring ditch visible with possible internal features.
Southwest side of 'rectangular enclosure/cursus' more visible on three images than on the NHER overlay.
Surely contemporary with the ring ditches and cursusesque.
M. Brennand (NLA), 23 February 2001.

February 2004, Norfolk NMP
Part of this site was previously recorded as NHER 11685. The cropmarks of a ring ditch described above are now recorded as NHER 38477. NMP mapping has led to the alteration of the central grid reference from TG 207 361 to TG 2064 3602.

The rectangular or wedge shaped enclosure and linear features described above are part of a Neolithic cursus visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs (S2) to (S8). It lies at approximately 45m OD, along a ridge of high ground midway between two tributaries of the River Bure. It may also be aligned on the higher ground to its northeast. It clearly shares an alignment, or is otherwise associated with, a number of nearby features, including two round barrows at its southwest end (NHER 11685), a ring ditch which appears to lie within it (NHER 38477), and a small curvilinear enclosure which also lies within it (NHER 38478). Without closer dating evidence it is impossible to identify a chronological sequence. It is worth noting, however, that a possibly circular timber setting at the eastern end of the Springfield cursus (Essex) was thought to be a contemporary feature, Peterborough Ware being recovered from a number of the post holes (S8).

The cursus is rectangular in plan, its visible length being up to approximately 400m and being 55m wide. Where they show clearly as cropmarks its sides are virtually parallel, although not perfectly straight (S2) to (S4). The southwest end, which is clearly visible, is square with rounded corners and meets the sides at approximately 90 degrees (the angle of the southeastern corner is slightly greater than this). The causeway at this end of the cursus appears to be genuine; breaks in the side ditches are not necessarily archaeological, but a product of the cropmarks being masked by geology.

The northeastern end of the cursus is extremely unclear. Faint linear cropmarks visible on a number of photographs (S5) to (S8) may continue its course beyond ring ditch NHER 38477, but these are very discontinuous and comprise more than two ditches which share an alignment with the sides of the cursus. Two ditch segments aligned northwest to southeast from TG 2079 3621 to TG 2082 3620 (S6) to (S8)) may form the northeastern end of the cursus, giving a length of 380m, although a short segment of ditch appears to continue the line of the west side beyond this (from TG 2079 3622 to TG 2080 3623).
S. Tremlett (NMP), 26 February 2004

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • DITCHED ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • CURSUS (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • DITCH (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • DITCHED ENCLOSURE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG2036 M-P,S-U; TG2035 V-AB,AF-AG,AS-ABB.
---Article in Serial: Buckley, D. G., Hedges, J. D. and Brown, N. 2001. Excavations at a Neolithic Cursus, Springfield, Essex, 1979-85. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. Vol 67 pp 101-162.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Correspondence: Ashbee, P.. 1997. Letter. October.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1994. TG 2036V - AL.
<S2>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1980. NHER TG 2035U (NLA 97/AQE6) 23-JUL-1980.
<S3>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1992. NHER TG 2035AA (NLA 309/GLS9) 09-JUL-1992.
<S4>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1996. NHER TG 2035ABL (NLA 373/JBP14) 19-JUL-1996.
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1963. RAF 58/5842 (F22) 0007-8 23-JUL-1963 (NMR).
<S6>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1996. NHER TG 2036AU-V (NLA 365/JFN9-10) 28-JUN-1996.
<S7>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1996. NHER TG 2035ABP (NLA 373/JBQ1) 19-JUL-1996.
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1430 4438-9 16-APR-1946 (NMR).

Related records - none

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