Thursday, 5 June 2008

Arbor Low

In the Derbyshire Peaks, South-West of Monyash is the prehistoric stone circle called Arbor Low. Like all ancient monuments, the age and social context are somewhat vague.All of the stones at Arbor Low have been placed flat to prevent them from collapsing. Many of the stones are broken or eroded to a severe extent. In the guide booklet it says "In 1758 it was recorded that a local man remembered some of the stones still standing." About 50 limestone slabs, quarried from a limestone pavement, make this a large stone circle by any standard. There is also archaeological evidence for a round hut at one end and a gap in the embankment at opposite ends of the circle.
The two large centre stones, assuming that they are laid flat in their original context, align with a notch in the hills at the horizon - marked on the photograph below. It seems likely that this monument may have been built as a seasonal calendar to determine the summer and winter solstice.
The name of the site comes from the Anglo-Saxon "Eorthurg Hlaw" meaning Earthwork hill. It was probably built more than 4500 years ago. The way that the monument is constructed means that it was visible as a mound on the top of a hill. The embankment concealed the stones until the site was entered.

This area is an important ceremonial site with a long barrow nearby at Gibb Hill which is thought to be 5000 years old. The site was probably most active throughout the Bronze Age.

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