Sunday, 21 April 2013

Thornborough Henges

My latest print is inspired by the prehistoric landscape of the Thornborough Henges. These three magnificent Neolithic monuments lie close to the River Ure near Ripon in North Yorkshire. They are defined by concentric rings of deep, wide ditches and high broad banks and are over 200m across. The henges lie together with an earlier cursus, (a very long enclosure of mysterious function), rows of pits and slots, which probably held timber posts and several barrows, which were the burial mounds of the Neolithic and Bronze Age. I've also incorporated the motif from sherds of Neolithic pottery uncovered by archaeological excavations nearby at Nosterfield. I rather like the way that the pottery motif, the cursus and pits have come to look like tattoos on the landscape.

I started with a much more detailed concept, intending to incorporate as much of the contemporary flora and fauna as I could glean from the archaeological record. But midway through sketching I changed direction and pared the design down to these simplest shapes and motifs. I might now return to the original ...

You can read more about the Thornborough Henges and other prehistoric monuments in the area here and about some of the results of excavations in and around the henges here.    

Thornborough Henges - an original lino print is available to buy here.


  1. Love this Alison - and thankyou for the links to Henges and more - very interesting. The pottery band is perfect. Original sounds intriguing!

  2. Thanks Jennifer - this really re-awoke my interest in prehistoric pottery - just incredible forms.

  3. it would make a great fabric design too...especially with all the interesting background info.



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