Reasons for Designation
Henges are ritual or ceremonial centres which usually date to the Late Neolithic period (2800-2000 BC). They were constructed as roughly circular or oval- shaped enclosures comprising a flat area over 20m in diameter enclosed by a ditch and external bank. One, two or four entrances provided access to the interior of the monument, which may have contained a variety of features including timber or stone circles, post or stone alignments, pits, burials or central mounds. Finds from the ditches and interiors of henges provide important evidence for the chronological development of the sites, the types of activity that occurred within them and the nature of the environment in which they were constructed. Henges occur throughout England with the exception of south-eastern counties and the Welsh Marches. They are generally situated on low ground, often close to springs and water-courses. Henges are rare nationally with about 80 known examples. As one of the few types of identified Neolithic structures and in view of their comparative rarity, all henges are considered to be of national importance.
Despite the fact that Coupland henge has been subject to cultivation, it survives well and excavation has indicated the presence of significant archaeological deposits within the slight upstanding remains and the buried features such as pits and ditches. The monument is extremely representative of its period and, lying on low ground near a major river, occupies a classic landscape setting for its type. It lies within a landscape of important archaeological sites including the henges of Milfield North, East Marleyknowe and Milfield South, which lie close to the north and south. Taken together these monuments form a complex of ritual monuments comparable to the most important Neolithic landscapes of England and which will contribute greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the period.
The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of a Neolithic henge, situated on level ground approximately 800m south west of the River Till. The henge, which is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs, is visible as a sub-oval enclosure measuring approximately 63m by 68m surrounded by a single bank, visible as a cropmark and in places as a very low earthwork with an internal ditch. The ditch measures between 4m to 5m and is slightly wider on the north side than the south side, bows out on the west side and its terminals are roughly squared. The ditch and bank are interrupted by opposed causewayed entrances on the SSE and NNW sides, which are roughly 16m across. A slight depression in the SSE entrance has been interpreted as the remains of a pit. Passing through the henge via both of its entrances is a short section of a 1750m long linear feature, interpreted as an avenue or droveway, consisting of a pair of roughly parallel ditches spaced approximately 7m to 33m apart. The east ditch of the droveway runs straight through the monument, curving to avoid the north east terminal of the bank. The west ditch similarly veers to avoid the north west bank terminal, bringing it to within 7m of the east ditch, and breaks to avoid the SSW bank terminal. Partial excavation conducted in 1995 within the northern entrance to the henge revealed the presence of two post-holes on either side of the entrance and a series of Early Neolithic pits containing Early Neolithic pottery and charred hazelnut shells, which produced a radiocarbon date of 3800BC, with similar material being found within the ditch of the droveway.
PastScape Monument No:- 3914 (henge), 3940 (droveway)
NMR:- NT93SW28 (henge), NT93SW42 (droveway)
Northumberland HER:- 2025