Created by Barry Thompson © 2011-2017 Aston on Trent on Trent Local History Group, all rights reserved
Pre-historic Aston on Trent - Part 1
Crop Marks and the Aston on Trent Cursus
Aston on Trent has a long history with written records going
back to mediaeval times, however the area was inhabited long
before even the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons were on the scene.
Aerial photographs from the 1960's clearly show a complex
series of lines, including a 'cursus', a pair of straight lines that
run roughly north east - south west for more than a mile.
Cursuses have only been found in Britain and were named
after Roman race tracks by William Stukely, an 18th century
antiquarian who found the first at Stonehenge in 1723.
However they actually pre-date the Romans by a considerable
time; the Aston on Trent cursus construction date is estimated
to be between 2500BC and 1500BC.
No one knows why the cursus was built or what it was used for,
although it may have links with ritual burial functions. With
ditches around 11 feet wide and 5 feet deep and at least 5700
feet long, it is a significant construction.
A number of Bronze Age burial sites in the area have been
excavated and a few Bronze Age artefacts were found but the
Aston on Trent cursus seems to have been built at a later date.
This was confirmed when a section of the cursus was
excavated by in 1986.
Another feature seen on some aerial photographs from the
1960's, near to the northern end of the cursus was a henge
monument - a double ditched circular feature with a ring of
post holes. This was destroyed when the field was turned into
a gravel pit!
Map of Aston on Trent showing the extensive
crop marks in the fields east of the village