Western end of Dorset Cursus
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Dorset County Council
East Dorset District Council
Gussage St Michael
SJ970970 (396971, 112421)
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A Neolithic long barrow on Thickthorn Down, located on the crest of the ridge between the Gussage and Crichel valleys. Listed by RCHME as Gussage St Michael 11 nad by Grinsell as Gussage St Michael I. Aligned roughly southeast-northwest, it lies immediately southeast of the Dorset Cursus (Linear 41) and is clearly associated with it. When surveyed by RCHME prior to 1975, it survived as a well-preserved mound 145 feet long, 60 feet across and 8 feet high, surrounded by a ditch 25 feet wide which surrounds three sides of the mound, being open to the southeast. The barrow shares the same alignment, but is not directly aligned upon, the terminal of the cursus. Barrett et al (1991) point out that the cursus here "is unusual in lacking the squared-off end normal on this type of monument. Instead the end bank of the Cursus runs at an oblique angle to the sides, and since this is not demanded by the topography it may be a deliberate design feature, intended to link the southern end of the Cursus to the axis of an existing monument". They also argue that the disproportionatel large terminal bank may have been deliberate intended to imitate the general appearance of this long barrow and another a short distance to the south (ST 91 SE 23), although the curious misalignment of all three features remains unexplained. There is no record of any excavation. A Neolithic flint axe has however been found on the surface of a disturbed area on the barrow's western flank.
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