Hawk Stone standing stone 700m south of Claridges Barn

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018401

Date first listed: 29-Jan-1926

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jan-1999

Map

Ordnance survey map of Hawk Stone standing stone 700m south of Claridges Barn
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Oxfordshire

District: West Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Spelsbury

National Grid Reference: SP 33922 23546

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Standing stones are prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments with dates ranging from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age for the few excavated examples. They comprise single or paired upright orthostatic slabs, ranging from under lm to over 6m high where still erect. They are often conspicuously sited and close to other contemporary monument classes. They can be accompanied by various features: many occur in or on the edge of round barrows, and where excavated, associated subsurface features have included stone cists, stone settings, and various pits and hollows filled in with earth containing human bone, cremations, charcoal, flints, pots and pot sherds. Similar deposits have been found in excavated sockets for standing stones, which range considerably in depth. Several standing stones also bear cup and ring marks. Standing stones may have functioned as markers for routeways, territories, graves, or meeting points, but their accompanying features show they also bore a ritual function and that they form one of several ritual monument classes of their period that often contain a deposit of cremation and domestic debris as an integral component. No national survey of standing stones has been undertaken, and estimates range from 50 to 250 extant examples, widely distributed throughout England but with concentrations in Cornwall, the North Yorkshire Moors, Cumbria, Derbyshire and the Cotswolds. Standing stones are important as nationally rare monuments, with a high longevity and demonstrating the diversity of ritual practices in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. Consequently all undisturbed standing stones and those which represent the main range of types and locations would normally be considered to be of national importance.

The Hawk Stone appears to have survived undisturbed in its original location and continues to form a visible focal point in the surrounding landscape. The hollow worn by the hands of visitors to the stone over the centuries shows how it has continued to have an importance (perhaps for a variety of reasons) throughout its existence and this in turn may have affected the way the surrounding landscape was perceived. The ground around and beneath the stone will contain valuable archaeological evidence relating to its erection and use.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a single prehistoric standing stone known as the Hawk Stone on a natural crest on Spelsbury Down, 900m west of Spelsburydown Farm. The single oolitic limestone monolith is believed to stand in its original position. Although it has been suggested that the monument might be all that remains of a portal dolmen (a rare type of burial chamber), there are no surviving associated orthostats (stones) or other evidence available at present to support this claim. The stone measures approximately 1m by 0.9m at its base and tapers to 0.9m at the apex which is 2.3m above the present ground level. It stands upright and to remain balanced must have at least one third of its total length buried below ground level. A concave hollow in its upper face is known to have been worn over time by people rubbing it for luck, although it may originally have been natural in origin.

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

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 28199

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing