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Lechlade Cursus is part of a scheduled multiperiod settlement cemetery and ceremonial complex, Lechlade.
County: Gloucestershire
District: COTSWOLD
Parish: LECHLADE
NGR: SP 21 00
Monument Number: 316
HER 316 DESCRIPTION:-
Scheduled Monument Description:-Not Available
A long parallel sided enclosure or cursus lying north of Lechlade church. It was first noted by D. N. Riley in 1942 from APs. {Source Work 30.}. It is about 50m wide and is aligned north-west to south-east. The north-west end can be plainly seen, but its extent towards the south-east has only been traced for about 150m.
A similar enclosure at Drayton, Berks has been dated to early Bronze Age or Neolithic period and other similar examples are known at Dorchester and Benson in Oxfordshire. A comparison with the two cursus enclosures near Stonehenge and the long mound at Maiden Castle is also suggested.
Three cuttings made by mechanical excavator across the south-west ditch in 1965 revealed it to be round bottomed and 1-1.5m deep from the modern surface. In two of the cuttings a post hole was found on the inside of the ditch. {Source Work 862.}
The cursus lies on a slight ridge facing south and is partly built over and partly under allotments. {Source Work 579.}
Cursus shows as cropmarks on aerial photographs (pers comm R Hingley, 1983). {Source Works 3243, 5394.}
A possible circle (?henge) is visible 50m south of the north terminal of the cursus (HER 304). Cursus is 50m wide and nearly 180m long - running towards the river. Part of the cursus has been destroyed; two ditches between SP 212 003 and SP 213 004 were noted during the construction of council houses. They tallied with the cropmarks shown on APs. There were no finds and no dating evidence. {Source Work 902.}
Excavations across the line of the cursus in June 1985 showed that it was formed from two parallel ditches 50m apart. In the fill of the ditch were several sherds of distinctive coarse decorated pottery characteristic of the Late Neolithic period known as Grooved Ware {Source Work 166.}
Together with several small henges and/or ring-ditches (see HERs 304, 306, 307 and 585) of Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age date, this site forms an important ceremonial complex (HER 305). {Source Work 2873.}
These pairs of long parallel banks and ditches found in Wessex have been minimally explored and their function remains a mystery but further APs may show wider distribution and even another example in Gloucestershire. {Source Work 1866.}
AREA ASSESSMENT :-
All of site ploughed. {Source Work 470.}
1985 - A geophysical survey of the site was undertaken by English Heritage Ancient Monuments Lab between 27/02/1985 and 28/02/1985. Resistivity survey was successful in locating the ditches of the cursus, and in reasonable agreement with the aerial photographs. Magnetometer survey was unable to detect the southern ditch but possibly showed the northern ditch as a weak positive anomaly. {Source Work 484.}
1985 - The Lechlade cursus north of Hambridge Lane was the subject of excavations prior to housing development. The excavations revealed the cursus ditches c.50m apart and between 0.5m and 0.7m deep. One ditch showed evidence of cutting and internal banks were suggested by their fills. Several sherds of grooved ware were recovered startified in one ditch. A circular post-built structure was also excavated within the cursus but dated to the early Iron Age. It is likely to be contemporary with the late Bronze Age/early Iron Age boundary running north from the Butler's Field excavation 200m to the south. {Source Work 735.}
1993 - This area was mapped at 1:10,000 scale as part of the English Heritage: Thames Valley NMP project.
A potential Prehistoric or Roman hut circle can be seen as a cropmark within the Lechlade cursus, at SP 2126 0043. This feature is an incomplete, subcircular enclosure, diameter 8m, defined by one ditch (Morph No. TG.58.11.1).
This description was generated from the RCHME MORPH2 database. {Source Works 4249, 7746, 3122.}
1993 - A stage 1 assessment was undertaken by CAT in advance of the proposed development at The Cursus, Lechlade in 1993. The assessment highlighted numerous prehistoric, Romano-British, Anglo-Saxon and medieval sites in the vicinity of the study arera which is situated within The Cursus, Lechlade. Further evalution of the site has been recommended (884).
2000 - On 9th and 10th October 2000, Cotswold Archaeological Trust conducted an archaeological evaluation of land adjacent to 2 The Cursus in support of an application for scheduled monument consent for the construction of a dwelling and associated driveway. Four trenches were excavated. The ditch of the Lechlade Cursus was identified in the anticipated location, and another prehistoric ditch (Iron Age) was also identified. No archaeology was found in the trench located on the site of the proposed dwelling, and modern topsoil had been dumped across much of the site to a depth of 0.50 metres. {Source Work 6037}.
(PRNs 8680, 3235 and 'Archive: Alexander Keiller Museum, Avebury: Plans Copy NMR' quoted on SMR Amendment sheet but not located.)
2001 - Parallel to the rare presence of Lechlade ring ditches placed within the cursus at Lechlade have been noted within the final excavation report of the Springfield Lyons (Essex) cursus. {Source Work 11158.}
2011 The site was included in a survey of the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age bone assemblages from c. 200 sites in southern Britain - see SW13689.

Monuments
CURSUS(LATE NEOLITHICtoEARLY BRONZE AGE)
Associated Finds
SHERD(NEOLITHIC)
VESSEL(NEOLITHIC)
HENGE(LATE NEOLITHICtoEARLY BRONZE AGE)
CURSUS(NEOLITHIC)
DITCH(NEOLITHIC)
DITCH(NEOLITHIC)
DITCH(IRON AGE)
Associated Finds
SHERD(IRON AGE)
DITCH(UNCERTAIN)
DITCH(IRON AGE)
Associated Finds
SHERD(IRON AGE)
FEATURE(UNCERTAIN)
HUT CIRCLE(IRON AGE)
HUT CIRCLE(ROMAN)
ROUND HOUSE (DOMESTIC)(LATE BRONZE AGE)
ROUND HOUSE (DOMESTIC)(EARLY IRON AGE)
RING DITCH(BRONZE AGE)

Protection Status
SCHEDULED MONUMENT(1003434)

Sources and further reading
735;Rawes B (Ed);1986;TRANSACTIONS OF THE BRISTOL AND GLOUCESTERSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY;Vol:104;Page(s):231-247;
6222;Ministry of Public Building Works;1965;
30;Benson D & Miles D;1974;The Upper Thames Valley: an Archaeological Survey of the River Gravels;Vol:0;
166;Miles D & Palmer S;1986;Invested in Mother Earth;Vol:0;
305;Saville A;1980;Archaeological Sites in the Avon and Gloucestershire Cotswolds;Vol:0;
2926;CUAP;1949;Vol:0;
470;Saville A;1976;Vol:0;
488;Armstrong L;1987;Vol:0;
484;Historic Environment Record;various;Vol:0;
579;Hingley R;1983;Vol:0;
585;Hingley R;1983;Plans of cropmarks and earthworks from Upper Thames Gravels Survey;Vol:0;
709;RCHME;1984-1985;Vol:0;
862;Ordnance Survey;unknown;Vol:0;
902;GADARG;1982;Vol:0;
1866;Darvill TC;1978;GLEVENSIS;Vol:12;Page(s):13-22;
2873;English Heritage;various;Vol:0;
3054;Riley DN;1943;OXONIENSIA;Vol:8;Page(s):64-101;
3458;Darvill TC & Locke R;1986;Vol:0;
4003;Leeds ET;1934;ANTIQUARIES JOURNAL;Vol:14;Page(s):414-416;
5387;RCHME;1960;Matter of Time: An Archaeological Survey of the River Gravels of England;Vol:0;
5394;Fairey Surveys;1961;Vol:0;
6660;Wills J (Ed);2001;TRANSACTIONS OF THE BRISTOL AND GLOUCESTERSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY;Vol:119;Page(s):185-210;
3122;RCHME (1969);1969;Vol:0;
4249;Historic England;Various;Vol:0;
7746;RCHME;1994;
8483;Gibson A;1994;PROCEEDINGS OF THE PREHISTORIC SOCIETY;Vol:60;Page(s):143-223;
8492;Clare T;1986;PROCEEDINGS OF THE PREHISTORIC SOCIETY;Vol:52;Page(s):281-316;
8680;United States Air Force;1943;
9622;CUAP;unknown;
3243;CUAP;1962;Vol:0;
2924;RCHME;1975;Vol:0;
11158;Buckley DG, Hedges JD & Brown N;2001;PROCEEDINGS OF THE PREHISTORIC SOCIETY;Vol:67;Page(s):101-162;
6037;Havard T;2000;
13689;Serjeantson D;2011;
12966;Various;1985;ARCHAEOLOGICAL NEWS: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF THE OXFORD ARCHAEOLOGY UNIT;Vol:12.3;
12968;Various;1986;ARCHAEOLOGICAL NEWS: THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF THE OXFORD ARCHAEOLOGY UNIT;Vol:14.3;
13035;Thomas J;1999;Understanding the Neolithic;
4159;Kilminster G;1996;GLEVENSIS;Vol:29;Page(s):37-38;
884;King R;1993;Vol:0;
4249;Historic England;Various;Vol:0;
15297;Various;Various;
15387;Various;Various;Historic England Archive Files;
8981;Cleal R & MacSween A (Eds);1999;Grooved Ware in Britain and Ireland. Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers 3;
16686;Barclay, A;1999;Grooved Ware in Britain and Ireland. Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers 3;Vol:3;
16687;Barclay A & Harding J;1999;Pathways and Ceremonies: the cursus monuments of Britain and Ireland Neolthic Studies Group Seminar Papers 4 ;Vol:4;
16688;Barclay A & Bayliss A;1999;Pathways and Ceremonies: the cursus monuments of Britain and Ireland Neolthic Studies Group Seminar Papers 4 ;Vol:4;
16689;Barclay A & G Hey;1999;Pathways and Ceremonies: the cursus monuments of Britain and Ireland Neolthic Studies Group Seminar Papers 4 ;Vol:4;
15387;Various;Various;Historic England Archive Files;

Related records
HER   304     Triple ring-ditch - part of multiperiod settlement cemetery & ceremonial complex
RCHME MORPH2;TG.58.11.1
HER   307     Ring-ditch - part of multiperiod settlement cemetery & ceremonial complex
HER   585     A Bronze Age ring ditch whcih is part of a scheduled multiperiod settlement cemetery and ceremonial complex, Lechlade.
THAMES VALLEY NMP PROJECT;1005262
SMC;HSD9/2/8107
HER   306     Ring-ditch - part of multiperiod settlement cemetery & ceremonial complex
HISTORIC ENGLAND AMIE RECORD;633666
HISTORIC ENGLAND AMIE RECORD; 653399
HISTORIC ENGLAND AMIE RECORD;1025952
SM COUNTY LEGACY; 1316
HISTORIC ENGLAND AMIE RECORD;332220
NMR INDEX NUMBER;SP 20 SW 3
RCHME MORPH2;TG.58.10.1
HISTORIC ENGLAND AMIE RECORD;1042493
NMR INDEX NUMBER;SP 20 SW 154
HER   305     An extensive scheduled multi-period settlement, cemetery and ceremonial complex represented by cropmarks, Lechlade.

Source
Gloucestershire County Council: Historic Environment Record Archive