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Historic England Research Records

Stanton Drew Circles And Cove

Hob Uid: 1475186
Location :
Bath And North East Somerset
Bath And North East Somerset
Stanton Drew
Grid Ref : ST5999863280
Summary : Stanton Drew Circles and Cove comprise a large regular stone circle ('the Great Circle'), two large irregular stone circles, two associated stone avenues and 'the Cove' a closely spaced group of three standing stones. These Late Neolithic monuments are situated in close proximity, near to the village of Stanton Drew, overlooking the flood plain of the River Chew to the east. In addition, to the north east, across the Chew on a high ridge, is a recumbent standing stone known as 'the Outlier' or 'Hautville's Quoit'. The proximity of these monuments to each other, and alignments between them, indicate that these sites are possibly related as a single complex. The circles were recorded by the antiquarian John Aubrey in 1664 and a plan of them was published by William Stukeley in 1776. The Great Circle lies to the west of the village and is the second largest known in England, after Avebury. It is about 120 metres in diameter and contains 26 visible stones. In 1997, English Heritage, in whose care the site is, carried out a detailed magnetometer survey of the site. This revealed nine concentric rings of anomalies within the Great Circle ranging from 23 to 95 metres in diameter. These are believed to be an elaborate pattern of buried pits or post holes. In the centre of these was a further cluster of anomalies, possibly pits, and around the whole of the circle was a 7 metre wide ditch with a gap of 50 metres to the north east. These rings may possibly have held timber uprights in similarity to other major sites such as Woodhenge and the Sanctuary. On the north east side of the Great Circle is an avenue of 5 stones, further to north east is a irregular circle of 7 large standing circles with a second avenue of originally 8 stones next to it. To the south west of the Great Circle and south of the village is an irregular circle of 13 stones. Also on the south side of the village is 'the Cove'. For more information on all of these monuments please see the associated records.
More information : Stanton Drew Circles and Cove comprise of a large regular stone circle ('the Great Circle'), two large irregular stone circles, two associated stone avenues and 'the Cove' a closely spaced group of three standing stones. These monuments are situated in close proximity, near to the village of Stanton Drew, overlooking the flood plain of the River Chew to the east. In addition, to the north east, across the Chew on a high ridge, is a recumbent standing stone known as 'the Outlier' or 'Hautville's Quoit'. The proximity of these monuments to each other, and alignments between them, indicate that these sites are possibly related as a single complex. The circles were recorded by the antiquarian John Aubrey in 1664 and a plan of them was published by William Stukeley in 1776. The Great Circle lies to the west of the village and is the second largest known in England, after Avebury. It is about 120 metres in diameter and contains 26 visible stones. In 1997, English Heritage carried out a detailed magnetometer survey of the site. This revealed nine concentric rings of anomalies within the Great Circle ranging from 23 to 95 metres in diameter. These are believed to be an elaborate pattern of buried pits or post holes. In the centre of these was a further cluster of anomalies, possibly pits, and around the whole of the circle was a 7 metre wide ditch with a gap of 50 metres to the north east. These rings may possibly have held timber uprights in similarity to other major sites such as Woodhenge and the Sanctuary. On the north east side of the Great Circle is an avenue of 5 stones, further to north east is a irregular circle of 7 large standing circles with a second avenue of originally 8 stones next to it. To the south west of the Great Circle and south of the village is an irregular circle of 13 stones. Also on the south side of the village is 'the Cove'. The stones at Stanton Dean include blocks of conglomerate, sandstone and oolitic limestone, all of which could be obtained locally. For more information on all of these monuments please see the associated records. [1-9]

Though the third largest collection of prehistoric standing stones in England, the three circles and three-stone 'cove' of Stanton Drew are surprisingly little-known. Recent surveys have revealed that they were only part of a much more elaborate ritual site. [10]

Source 11 is an article noting the succsessful use of survey utilising caesium vapour magnetometers at Stanton Drew. Here the lines of circular features from a previously unreconised henge monument were identified by the devices as individual pits of about 1.4 metres across. (11)

Source 12 is a technical paper describing the application of automated investigation methods to post pits at Stanton Drew stome circles with a discussion of its applicability elsewhere. (12)

Source 13 contains a brief accessible overview of Stanton Drew Circles and Cove for visitors. (13)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 09-Sep-94
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Source Number : 2
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 1:2500, 2008
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Source Number : 11
Source : Antiquity
Source details : Article by Andrew David, Mark Cole, Tim Horsely, Neil Linford, Paul Linford, Louise Martin: 'A rival to Stonehenge? Geophysical Survey at Stanton Drew'
Page(s) : 341-358
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 78, 2004
Source Number : 12
Source : Archaeological Prospection
Source details :
Page(s) : 137-150
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Vol(s) : 12 (3), 2005
Source Number : 13
Source : Heritage Unlocked: Guide to free sites in Devon, Dorset and Somerset
Source details :
Page(s) : 82-83
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Source Number : 3
Source : Stanton Drew stone circles, Somerset
Source details : L.V. Grinsell. 1956
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Source Number : 4
Source : Stanton Drew: from folk tradition to the new archaeology
Source details : In Avon Past (Avon Archaeological Council; Avon Local History Association) Volume 8, 1983, pages 4-8.
Page(s) : 04-Aug
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Vol(s) : 8
Source Number : 5
Source : The megalithic monuments of Stanton Drew
Source details : L. V. Grinsell. 1994
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Source Number : 6
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage. Archaeology Review 1996-97: 4.19 Publications. http://www.eng-h.gov.uk/archrev/rev97_8/archaeometry.htm#T [Accessed 26-JUN-2008]
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Source Number : 7
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Stone Circles: Stanton Drew. http://www.stone-circles.org.uk/stone/stantondrew.htm [Accessed 26-JUN-2008]
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Source Number : 8
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Arosio, P. and Meozzi, D. 2008. Stone Pages. http://www.stonepages.com/england/stantondrew.html [Accessed 26-JUN-2008]
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Source Number : 9
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : 2008. http://www.stonehenge-avebury.net/stantondrew/StantonDrew.html [Accessed 26-JUN-2008]
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Source Number : 10
Source : English Heritage Members' and Visitors' handbook 2008/9
Source details :
Page(s) : 119
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Late Neolithic
Display Date : Late Neolithic in date
Monument End Date : -2200
Monument Start Date : -2900
Monument Type : Henge, Stone Circle, Timber Circle, Stone Avenue, Standing Stone, Cove, Stone Setting
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 22861
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 22856
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 22862
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : BA 44
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : AV 24
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 316
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : ST 56 SE 75
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 201201
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1097258
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1097265
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1097272
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1097243
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON ST 66 SW 2
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1965-12-23
End Date : 1965-12-23
Associated Activities : HAUTVILLES QUOIT
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1969-01-01
End Date : 1969-12-31
Associated Activities : HAUTVILLE QUOIT
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1969-01-01
End Date : 1969-12-31
Associated Activities : STANTON DREW GREAT CIRCLE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : STANTON DREW CIRCLES
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : STANTON DREW CIRCLES
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : STANTON DREW CIRCLES AND AVENUES
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2017-01-01
End Date : 2017-12-31