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|Description ||Arbor Low circle-henge and round barrows, Parsley Hay, Derbyshire GR: SK158634
Often referred to as ‘The Stonehenge of the North’, Arbor Low is described as ‘One of the most important prehistoric monuments in Britain’. Located on a plateau 375m (1230ft) above sea level, it contains a number of interesting features.
The circle-henge was almost certainly constructed in a number of phases during the 3rd millennium BC. The long barrow of Gib Hill close by (GR: SK158634) was probably the original worship focus on the site before the oval bank and ditch of the henge, with its two entrances to the north-west and south-south-east, were established in the Late Neolithic period. The stones were added later and were almost certainly in place by 2000BC.
Use of the site continued on into the Bronze Age when the most prominent part of the outer bank was reconstructed to allow for the erection of a large round barrow.
The site of Arbor Low now consists of a ruined circle (actually egg-shaped) of around fifty large locally quarried limestone blocks with seven smaller blocks in the centre forming a cove, close to which the human skeletal remains were discovered.
All but one of the stones are now recumbent with only one to the west-south-west remaining partially upright. Some of the fallen, broken stones do appear to fit together, indicating there were probably between forty-one and forty-three standing stones originally. They are of varying shapes and sizes ranging from about 1.6m to 2.1m in height, with the exception of the monoliths at the entrances which are between 2.6m and 2.9m tall. The stump of one stone, perhaps the remains of a portal stone, can be found in the southern entrance while a large pit in the northern entrance indicates this may also have contained a stone.
The oval earthen bank is approximately 90m by 85m externally in diameter and 2m high, with the inner platform of 52m by 40m. The surrounding ditch is circa 2m deep and between 7m and 12m wide. The bank and ditch are broken by two causewayed entrances which are not exactly opposite, one 9m wide to the north-west and one 6m wide to the south-south-east.
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