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MONUMENT NO. 210013

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A Neolithic long barrow located on the crest of Gussage Hill. Listed by RCHME as Gussage St Michael 14 and by Grinsell as Gussage St Michael III. The long barrow lies within the Dorset Cursus (Linear 41) and is aligned at right angles to the long axis of the cursus. However, it is slightly off-centre, being closer to the northwest side of the cursus than to the southeast. It also lies among the earthworks of later settlement (ST 91 SE 3 and associated records). RCHME measured the mound as being 155 feet long, 65 feet wide and up to 10 feet high. Orientated southeast-northwest, the mound is lower and narrower towards the northwestern end. Shallow side ditches circa 30 feet across were visible on either side of the mound. There is no record of any excavation being undertaken. The barrow falls within the southwest portion of the Dorset Cursus, this stretch being known as the Gussage Cursus and which pre-dates the construction of the northwestern extension to Martin Down. The long barrow appears to pre-date construction of this Gussage Cursus, and was deliberately incorporated within it. The length of cursus running southwest from the terminal on Bottlebush Down was aligned exactly on the barrow, but drifted off course as it approached Gussage Hill but began to drift off course as the barrow moved out of view, an adjustment being necessary on Gussage Down in order to enclose the barrow. Barrett et al (1991) have argued that the positioning of the Bottlebush Down terminal was chosen in order that the barrow, when viewed from the terminal, would appear on the horizon. Penny and Wood (1973) suggested that this would also allow the midwinter sun to be observed setting behind the barrow when seen from the Bottlebush terminal. This is the most plausible of Penny and Wood's various alignments, and is accepted by Barrett et al.

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