- Rudston Cursus 2
Archaeology & History
One of the four (known) cursus monuments around Rudston: this one stretches between the Ordnance Survey coordinates TA 081669 near Kilham Grange on the southwestern edge of Rudston, then heads northeast towards the village itself at TA 094675. Described briefly in D.P.Dymond’s essay on (mainly) Cursus A, he said how Cursus B was part of,
“a large complex of crop marks. The largest feature is the squared, tapering end of Cursus B, which can be traced for 700 yards in a north-easterly direction. No surface remains seem to survive in an area intensively ploughed, except for a swelling under a hedge on the line of the south-eastern bank (at TA 0834 6703). West of the square end and partly overlying it, are several small rectangular enclosures, which are probably part of a later (?Romano-British) settlement and field-system. Also in this tangle of crop-marks there are four roughly circular shapes, which may well be barrow circles associated with the end of the cursus. On certain barrow just south of the end of the cursus has an inner ring of pits. Where the cursus is lat visible to the north-east, it is headed roughly for the monolith ¾-mile away. The width of Cursus B is approximately 90 yards between ditch centres. It has its square end on the forward slope of a ridge (like Cursus A) at a height of 180 feet OD, and descends towards the village, which is visible from the end, through a shallow valley.”
Dymond’s note about the alignment feature of this cursus, towards the gigantic Rudston monolith, was one echoed in the Hedges & Buckley (1981) survey. They noted:
“At Rudston, the B cursus extended eastwards aligns upon the Rudston monolith in Rudston churchyard. Destruction of standing stones elsewhere may have removed similar associations between the stones and cursuses.”
This alignment feature was also confirmed by cognitive archaeologist and alignment specialist, Paul Devereux (Pennick & Devereux 1989) in his survey of cursus monuments.
Typical of these fascinating antiquities, nothing of any worth has been found along the length of the cursus that can give us any clues to its nature and function. However, the presence of this and three others close by indicates that the region was an exceptionally important one in the cosmology of our prehistoric ancestors. Four of these giant linear cursus monuments occur in relative proximity, and there was an excess of ancient tombs and, of course, we have the largest standing stone in the British Isles stood in the middle of it all. A full multidisciplinary analysis of the antiquities in this region is long overdue. To our ancestors, the mythic terrain and emergent monuments hereby related to each other symbiotically, as both primary aspects (natural) and epiphenomena (man-made) of terra mater: a phenomenon long known to comparative religious students and anthropologists exploring the animistic natural relationship of landscape, tribal groups and monuments.
- Dymond, D.P., “Ritual Monuments at Rudston, E. Yorkshire, England,” in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, volume 32, 1966.
- Eliade, Mircea, The Sacred and the Profane, Harvest: New York 1959.
- Hedges, John & Buckley, David G., The Springfield Cursus and the Cursus Problem, Essex County Council 1981.
- Pennick, Nigel & Devereux, Paul, Lines on the Landscape, Hale: London 1989.
- ADS: Archaeology of Rudston B – Brief archaeological notes on the cursus to the southwest of Rudston.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian