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CASTLERIGG STONE CIRCLE

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A stone circle and associated features located on a plateau of Castlerigg Fell. The orthostats belonging to the stone circle itself are accompanied by an external bank which may be a plough headland rather than an original feature. The stones vary in size, but two of the tallest are located on the north, on either side of a wide gap in the circuit, and almost certainly define an entrance. Each is accompanied by an almost contiguous smaller stone, further emphasizing this part of the circle. Inside the circle, and on the south-east side, is a sub-rectangular setting of stones. One of its shorter sides comprises three stones of the main circle. It is assumed to be broadly contemporary with the circle itself, though its function is obscurre. An excavation in 1882 only found a 1 metre deep pit with traces of charcoal near its base. Other internal features include two low cairns, each around 3 metres in diameter and surrounded by a slight ditch. They flank the entrance gap, while immediately inside the entrance itself is a low amorphous mound of circa 3 metres diameter which may either represent a third cairn or may be the result of later disturbance. In the southwest part of the interior is a low earthwork bank which runs adjacent to stones in an arc for 7.5-8 metres. Again, its date is uncertain. Some early sources made reference to outliers, and a stone stands 90 metres south west of the circle. However, it was erected in its present position in circa 1913. It may not be in its original position - indeed it may not originally have been a standing stone at all. In the 1720s William Stukeley noted a second stone circle in the field immediately to the west. However, by the mid-19th century there was no trace of such a feature. The sole finds from within the circle are a "stone club", perhaps an axe rough-out, and a greenstone axe. Both were referred to by Stukeley. A further unpolished axe was found in the immediate vicinity circa 1875. In the care of English Heritage.

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