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Arbor Low

Hob Uid: 308656
Location :
Derbyshire
Derbyshire Dales
Middleton And Smerrill
Grid Ref : SK1603063550
Summary : A Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age henge monument comprising earthwork enclosure defined by a bank and internal ditch with an inner ring of standing stones, all now recumbent. The maximum external diameter of the enclosure is circa 90 metres. There are two entrance causeways, one to the northwest and the other to the south-south-east. The circle of stones may originally have comprised around 39 uprights, while in the centre of the enclosed area are the remains of a roughly square setting of stones, perhaps a cove. Excavation of the site was undertaken by Harold St George Gray in 1901-2, but was not extensive. Finds included flint implements including a few scrapers and arrowheads, including a barbed and tanged example from the bottom of the ditch. A few fragmentary bones and teeth were also recovered. A human skeleton was found in the area of the central setting, but was not accompanied by any artefacts. Scheduled. A linear earthwork approaches the henge from the south (see Monument No. 308731), while a round barrow (see Monument No. 308666) is situated on the south east part of the henge bank.
More information : [SK 16036355] Arbor Low [O.E.] (1)

Arbor Low is a Class II Henge Monument consisting of a ring of 42 stones and a central core surrounded by a ditch with an external bank. (2)

Scheduled, and in the charge of the M.O.W. (3)

The excavations of 1901-2 suggested that the earthwork connected with the ditch on the south-west was of the same date.(4) (2-4)

Stones all recumbent, some signs of mutilation of the bank. (See plan with field notes). (5)

Field report of 19.8.52 correct.

Resurveyed at 1/2500. (6)

Additional references. (7-9)

Excavation of the site was undertaken by Harold St George Gray in 1901-2 on behalf of the Anthropological Section of the British Association. The excavations were not extensive. Finds included flint implements including a few scrapers and arrowheads, including a barbed and tanged example from the bottom of the ditch. A few fragmentary animal bones and teeth were also recovered. A human skeleton was found in the area of the central setting of stones (or cove), but was not accompanied by any artefacts. Gray also examined an associated earthwork (Monument No. 308731) which runs up to the S side of the enclosure. He also discussed but did not re-examine the previously excavated round barrow (Monument No. 308666) constructed on the SE part of the henge bank. (10)

The site and its archaeological history have recently been described by Harding & Lee (11) and Barnatt (12), the latter suggesting that the stones, now almost all recumbent, had originally been set in shallow stone holes, contrary to the frequently expressed view that they had never stood upright.

A fuller description of the site including pre-Gray excavations is provided by Barnatt in his survey of henges and related monuments of the Peak District (13), while the broader background of the site is discussed by various authors in a recent volume on the prehistory of the Peak District (14).

Arbor Low henge is a scheduled Monumnet described as a "large irregular stone circle. Linear bank and bowl barrow". The monument includes the henge and stone circle, the linear bank adjoining the henge, and a bowl barrow superimposed on the east side of the henge bank. The henge features a massive bank and internal ditch surrounding an oval area of circa 40m by 52m. The ditch is between 7-12 m wide, the bank is circa 2m high and is between 8-10m wide. It is roughly circular and has an external diameter of 90 by 85m. The ditch is crossed by causeways at the entrances. The remains of the stone circle are situated within the henge. There are 50 stumps and fragments of stones: the original number of stones may have been 41-43. Leading southward from the henge is a bank and ditch that extends for 150m further south is another section which is 200m long and turns westward. The 70m gap between the two is not included in the scheduled area.(15)

Fieldwork has shown that the site of Arbor Low may have been chosen because for a henge it was close to an earlier "sacred" complex. A Neolithic barrow (Gib Hill) is situated approximately 1000 foot from the henge: this was constructed in two phases, the first an oval mound partly overridden by a second later mound with a cist burial. Furthermore there were traces of a fragment of a circular earthwork enclosure and stone bank. J. Radley conjectures that this may be the remains of an earlier henge that was superseded by Arbor Low and subsequently slighted. (16)

D. Thomsen published a guide to Arbor Low in 1963, this includes a map of the site. (17)

Arbor Low is an English Heritage managed property. Details of opening hours and how to find the monument are included on the English Heritage web site. (18)

The name Arbor Low is thought to derive from 'Eorthburg Hlaw' which means 'earthwork mound'. See source for further details. (19)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1955
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Excavations at Dorchester, Oxon: first report. Sites I, II, IV, V and VI, with a chapter on henge monuments
Source details :
Page(s) : 95
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Henge monuments and related sites of Great Britain : air photographic evidence and catalogue
Source details : Site 037
Page(s) : 110-1
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 175
Source Number : 12
Source : Stone circles of Britain : taxonomic and distributional analyses and a catalogue of sites in England, Scotland and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 364-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 215 (i-ii)
Source Number : 13
Source : The henges, stone circles and ringcairns of the Peak District
Source details :
Page(s) : 31-Aug
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1
Source Number : 14
Source : Recent developments in the archaeology of the Peak District
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 15
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Amendment 15-Apr-1994
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : The origin of the Arbor Low monument
Source details :
Page(s) : 100-103
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 88, 1968
Source Number : 17
Source : Guide to Arbor Low, together with notes on three other prehistoric sites in Derbyshire
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 18
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage 2004 "Places to Visit: Arbor Low Stone Circle and Gib Hill Barrow"; http://www.english-heritage.org.uk; accessed 22-SEP-2004
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 19
Source : Heritage Unlocked: Guide to free sites in the Midlands
Source details :
Page(s) : 08-Sep
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ancient Monuments in England and Wales, 1961, (Ministry Of Works)
Page(s) : 31
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : St George Gray, H. On the Excavations at Arbor Low, 1901-2.
Page(s) : 461-98
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 58, 1903
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 FC 19-AUG-52
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 FC 28-APR-66
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details :
Page(s) : Jan-28
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 126, 1969
Source Number : 8
Source : The stone circles of the British Isles
Source details :
Page(s) : 343, 396
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Rings of stone : the prehistoric stone circles of Britain and Ireland
Source details :
Page(s) : 216
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : St George Gray, H. On the Excavations at Arbor Low 1901-2.
Page(s) : 461-98
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 58, 1903

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Late Neolithic
Display Date : Late Neolithic
Monument End Date : -2200
Monument Start Date : -2900
Monument Type : Henge, Stone Circle, Inhumation, Cove
Evidence : Earthwork, Structure, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Early Bronze Age
Display Date : Early Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -1600
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Henge, Stone Circle, Cove, Inhumation
Evidence : Earthwork, Structure, Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Period : Late Neolithic
Component Monument Type : Henge, Stone Circle, Inhumation, Cove
Object Type : LEAF ARROWHEAD, SCRAPER (TOOL)
Object Material :
Period : Early Bronze Age
Component Monument Type : Henge, Stone Circle, Cove, Inhumation
Object Type : SCRAPER (TOOL), BARBED AND TANGED ARROWHEAD
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DR 1
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 11503
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 52
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SK 16 SE 8
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 308779
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 308666
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 308731
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1770-01-01
End Date : 1770-12-31
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1782-01-01
End Date : 1782-12-31
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1824-01-01
End Date : 1824-12-31
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1844-01-01
End Date : 1844-12-31
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1845-01-01
End Date : 1845-12-31
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1901-01-01
End Date : 1902-12-31
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1901-01-01
End Date : 1902-12-31
Associated Activities : GIB HILL (ARBOR LOW)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1901-01-01
End Date : 1902-12-31
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1901-01-01
End Date : 1901-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 16 NE 48
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1952-08-19
End Date : 1952-08-19
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 16 NE 48
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1966-04-28
End Date : 1966-04-28
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1990-01-01
End Date : 1990-12-31
Associated Activities : UPPER OLDHAMS FARM (STANTON ESTATE LAND), MIDDDLETON-BY-YOULGREAVE
Activity type : MANAGEMENT SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW
Activity type : MANAGEMENT SURVEY
Start Date : 1994-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31
Associated Activities : BLAKEMOOR PITS, NEAR ARBOR LOW
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW AND GIB HILL
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : ENGLISH HERITAGE: ARBOR LOW, GIB HILL AND ENVIRONS SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2007-11-01
End Date : 2007-11-01
Associated Activities : ARBOR LOW STONE CIRCLE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2011-01-01
End Date : 2011-12-31