Drayton Cursus (north), Abingdon, Oxfordshire

Cursus Monument:  OS Grid Reference – SU 490 941SU 492 950

Drayton Cursus alignment (courtesy Paul Devereux)
Drayton Cursus alignment (courtesy Paul Devereux)

Archaeology & History

This minor cursus monument was etched into the landscape in neolithic times.  Found to the south of Abingdon and close to the River Thames, one report showed finds from the site dating from 2900 BC.  There is also a neolithic henge monument very close to its northern terminus and a plethora of other Bronze Age remains all round.  Paul Devereux (1989) described how crop marks revealed,

“a substantial former cursus immediately to the east of Drayton: its crop marks extend southwest to northeast for a little over a mile, and are 225 feet (68 metres) wide. The cursus has a squared south end, but the northern terminus has not been found. The crop marks are not evident in the middle portion of the cursus, as it was formerly overlaid by a Saxon village. There is a plethora of other crop marks within and around the cursus… The northern section…which has a slightly different orientation to the southern segment, points squarely to the ancient heart of Abingdon.”

References:

  1. Ainslie, R. & Wallis, J., ‘Excavations on the Cursus at Drayton, Oxon’, in Oxoniensis 52, 1987.
  2. Barclay, A., Lambrick, G., Moore, J. & Robinson, M., Lines in the Landscape, OAU: Oxford 2003.
  3. Loveday, Roy, Inscribed Across the Landscape, Tempus: Stroud 2006.
  4. Pennick, Nigel & Devereux, Paul, Lines on the Landscape, Hale: London 1989.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Drayton (north) cursus

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Drayton (north) cursus 51.648755, -1.290825 Drayton cursus