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Hasting Hill cursus and causewayed enclosure, 600m south of Hasting Hill Farm

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Hasting Hill cursus and causewayed enclosure, 600m south of Hasting Hill Farm

List entry Number: 1016977

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Sunderland

District Type: Metropolitan Authority

Parish:

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 10-Dec-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Sep-1999

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 32070

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

A cursus is an elongated rectilinear earthwork, the length of which is normally greater than 250m and more than ten times its width. The sides are usually defined by a bank and external ditch, but occasionally by a line of closely set pits. The two long sides run roughly parallel and may incorporate earlier monuments of other classes. Access to the interior was restricted to a small number of entranceways, usually near the ends of the long sides. Cursus monuments vary enormously in length, from 250m at the lower end of the range up to 5.6km in the case of the Dorset Cursus. The width is normally in the range 20m to 60m. The greatest variations in the ground plan occur at the terminals, with a variety of both round ended and square ended examples recorded. Dateable finds from cursus monuments are few. Early Neolithic pottery has been found in the primary fill of some ditches, but there is also evidence of construction in the Late Neolithic period. There are indications re-cutting or extending of the ditches at some sites and the distribution of monuments of later periods often respects cursus monuments demonstrating their continued recognition through time. Taken together, these features indicate construction and use over a long period of time. Cursus monuments have been interpreted in various ways since their initial identification. The name itself is the Latin term for race track and this was one of the functions suggested by Stukeley in the 18th century. More recently a ritual or ceremonial role has been suggested. Of the 40 or so examples recorded nationally, most are widely scattered across central and eastern England, though the distribution extends to northern counties. The majority lie on the flat, well drained gravel terraces of major river valleys, but a number are known on the chalk downlands of Dorset and Wiltshire. As one of the few known classes of Neolithic monument, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all cursus monuments are considered to be nationally important.

Between 50 and 70 causewayed enclosures are recorded nationally, mainly in southern and eastern England. They were constructed over a period of some 500 years during the middle part of the Neolithic period (c.3000-2400 BC) but also continued in use into later periods. They vary considerably in size (from 2 to 70 acres) and were apparently used for a variety of functions, including settlement, defence, and ceremonial and funerary purposes. However, all comprise a roughly circular to ovoid area bounded by one or more concentric rings of banks and ditches. The ditches, from which the monument class derives its name, were formed of a series of elongated pits punctuated by unexcavated causeways. Causewayed enclosures are amongst the earliest field monuments to survive as recognisable features in the modern landscape and are one of the few known Neolithic monument types. Due to their rarity, their wide diversity of plan, and their considerable age, all causewayed enclosures are considered to be nationally important. Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthern or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantila proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Hasting Hill cursus and causewayed enclosure is unique in the north east of England. Despite disturbance from recent cultivation, the survival of features and deposits has been shown through excavation, and important information on the cursus, enclosure and round barrows regarding their form, history and relation to each other will be preserved beneath the present ground surface.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a cursus, causewayed enclosure and round barrows which have been identified through aerial photography, lying 600m south of Hasting Hill Farm. No upstanding earthwork remains of these survive but the evidence of aerial photography and limited excavation have confirmed that significant remains survive beneath the present ground surface. Sections of the ditches of both the cursus and causewayed enclosure were excavated by the Department of Archaeology, University of Durham in 1980. The cursus is orientated north- south. At its northern terminus the cursus is 47m wide and is defined by a 1m wide, asymmetrical `V' shaped ditch, which was 0.4m deep. The southern terminus has not been identified, but the cursus is at least 400m long. The causewayed enclosure lies 10m north west of the northern terminus of the cursus. It is an irregular oval, 92m by 65m, with its long axis orientated north west-south east defined by a 1m-2.2m wide ditch, which is 0.2m-0.3m deep. It has entrances in the north west and south east perimeter of the enclosure. One of the round barrows, which is 9m in diameter, is on the eastern perimeter of the enclosure. The other round barrow ditches are located just east of the cursus, 400m south of the causewayed enclosure. One of these has been measured at 20m-22m diameter. The cursus, causewayed enclosure and round barrows are interpreted as being of Neolithic date.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Harding, A F, Hasting Hill, 1980, (1980)
Horne, PD, Possible Neolithic Enclosure and Cursus Monument at Hasting Hill, (1998)
Horne, PD, Possible Neolithic Enclosure and Cursus Monument at Hasting Hill, (1998)
Horne, PD, Possible Neolithic Enclosure and Cursus Monument at Hasting Hill, (1998)

National Grid Reference: NZ 35549 53825

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Nov-2017 at 10:33:05.

End of official listing