Hastings Hill Cursus, Sunderland, Durham

Cursus: OS Grid Reference – NZ 3555 5381

Also known as:

  1. Hasting Hill

Archaeology & History

Aerial view of Hasting Hill cursus & enclosure remains
Aerial view of Hasting Hill cursus & enclosure remains

This site was discovered in the 1980s, following aerial surveying of the region.  The survey uncovered a number of previously unknown archaeological monuments in relative proximity to each other; the Hastings Hill cursus being just one.  There was also a causewayed enclosure and some round barrows some 700 yards south of Hastings Hill Farm. Although no distinctive remains of the earthworks can still be seen on the surface, limited excavation confirmed that significant remains survive beneath the ground. (in the aerial image here, note that the cursus in question aint the long thin crop-mark running to the top-left, but is the small, slightly rounded-end linear feature nearly touching the bottom-right of the oval enclosure)

A brief description of the remains on the Sunderland Council website gives the following information:

“Sections of the ditches of both the cursus and causewayed enclosure were excavated by the Department of Archaeology, University of Durham in 1980. The cursus is orientated north-south. At its northern terminus the cursus is 47m wide and is defined by a 1m wide, asymmetrical ‘V’ shaped ditch, which was 0.4m deep. The southern terminus has not been identified, but the cursus is at least 400m long. The causewayed enclosure lies 10m north west of the northern terminus of the cursus. It is an irregular oval, 92m by 65m, with its long axis orientated north-west, south-east defined by a 1m-2.2m wide ditch, which is 0.2m-0.3m deep. It has entrances in the north west and south east perimeter of the enclosure. One of the round barrows, which is 9m in diameter, is on the eastern perimeter of the enclosure. The other round barrow ditches are located just east of the cursus, 400m south of the causewayed enclosure. One of these has been measured at 20m-22m diameter. The cursus, causewayed enclosure and round barrows are interpreted as being of Neolithic date.”


  1. Horne, P.D., MacLeod, P. & Oswald, A., ‘A Probable Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure in the North of England,’ in Antiquity Journal, March 2001.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian