Just last weekend I was happy to be part of the Thornborough Heritage Trust’s tour of the henge complex. This had the additional attraction of being led by Dr Jan Harding of the University of Newcastle who had been pivotal in recent research carried out on the complex.
Dr Harding gave a broad outline of the chronology of the complex, which like many others, has yet to be the subject of a comprehensive dating programme. The area around the henges has been subject to a number of threats over the years, not the least of which has been quarrying which may have been responsible for the destruction of a number of sites close to the henges.
The three henges at Thornborough are of similar size, each being around 220m in diameter. In the northernmost of the henges the internal ditch is still extant, and is thought to be approximately 1.5-2m in depth. The bank is also relatively well preserved although in places there is significant erosion, particularly at the eastern terminus on the north causeway.
The monument complex at Thornborough is notable as it also features a cursus of some 1.2km length which passes underneath the southern ‘entrance’ of the central henge. In addition to this, fieldwork has also established the presence of a number of features and alignments which Dr Harding believes were involved in directing people’s movements through and between all three henges. It may be significant that there is no clear line of sight through or between the henges, although they are clearly inter-visible. One possibility is that people began there ‘henge experience’ at the southern henge and moved through each of the monuments until they left through the northernmost break in the bank of the northern henge.
There is a reading list for henge monuments on the resources pages, and a gallery of images which you can use to find out more.
The Thornborough Heritage Trust is a charitable trust which aims to promote the conservation, preservation and protection of the Thornborough henges and other archaeological and historical sites in North Yorkshire, including their landscape setting, for the benefit of the public. They are also committed to advancing public education raising awareness and understanding of the Thornborough henges and other archaeological and historical sites. More information can be found at the Trust’s website: http://www.thornboroughheritagetrust.org/