Greater Stonehenge Cursus, Stonehenge, Wiltshire

Greater Stonehenge Cursus, Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Photograph taken 26.102012 © Historic England Archive ref: NMR _27527_029

Few cursus monuments survive as visible monuments above ground but one exception is the Greater Stonehenge Cursus, which is around 3 km long. When the archaeologist William Stukeley noticed this monument in the 18th century he thought it was a Roman arena and gave it the Latin name for a chariot race track - cursus! Cursus monuments are long and narrow earthwork enclosures that were built between 3500 and 3000 BC. They range in size from about 100m to almost 10km long but they usually contain very few finds so their purpose is hard to discover. However, they are often thought of as processional ways, through which people crossed sacred or important parts of the landscape.