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PRIDDY CIRCLES

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A linear arrangement of four circular earthwork enclosures, arranged roughly south-south-west to north-north-east and usually numbered one to four in the same direction. The southernmost is immediately east of Harptree Lodge, and the first three are quite closely spaced. The northernmost, which is separated from the other three by a gap of some 350 metres, is immediately northeast of Bandpitt Farm. Each enclosure has been recorded separately (ST 55 SW 124-7), and those records should be consulted for more detail. The gap separating Priddy 4 from the remainder seems genuine - there is no "missing" enclosure. This gap is bisected by the course of the Roman road (RR 45b) which runs northwest-southeast between Charterhouse and Old Sarum. Excavations between 1956 and 1959 focused on Priddy 1, although some test borings were undertaken in Priddy 4. No dating evidence was found, but the excavators assumed all four circles to be henge monuments. The enclosures are currently scheduled as probable Neolithic ritual or ceremonial monuments similar to the henge class. Apart from the lack of finds, the henge interpretation is rendered problematical by the presence of external rather than internal ditches. The obvious comparison is with Stonehenge phase 1, although that monument presents morphological and chronological difficulties in terms of interpretation as a henge. Priddy 4 contains several features interpreted as Bronze Age bowl barrows (ST 55 SW 6), though none have been excavated. Numerous features clustered around the circles and beyond have been interpreted in the past as old mine or quarry workings. More recent analysis suggests that although there is some evidence for mining, many of the features around and within the circles are natural sinkholes.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.