Topographic survey over the Church henge

In spring 1995 the opportunity was made available for Bournemouth University to test the use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) in an archaeological context. It was decided to carry out part of this evaluation at Knowlton Church Henge, where it was felt that the quality of the earthworks were such as to provide a suitable assessment of the technique’s performance.

Unfortunately, it was not possible to include the church itself within the survey, nonetheless, the full extent of the surviving earthworks were covered within a day’s work.

The survey results provide some indication of the value of this technique, whilst also offering a detailed picture of the Church henge earthworks. Of particular note in this respect is the detailed view of the rectangular church enclosure which forms a very subtle feature on the ground.

From an archaeological perspective, the most interesting aspect is the partial blockage of the southwestern entrance way preventing a clear view to the centre of the monument from the outside, and also channeling visitors around the edge. It is noteworthy that this same segment of the bank is disproportionately high, as if to accentuate the blocking effect. The possibility that this was a deliberate device used in the ordering of ritual within the henge seems highly appealing. In contrast the arrangement of bank and ditch at the southeastern entrance allows a clear line of site into the henge.

This work will be complemented by a geophysical survey of the henge interior to be carried out in March 1996.

All enquiries regarding the archaeology of this site should be addressed to:

Steve Burrow. (Email:

Enquiries regarding the use of GPS equipment should be addressed to:

Andrew Fulton. (Email:

This page has been compiled and is maintained by Steve Burrow
All data and graphics are copyright to the School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, 1996, unless otherwise stated.
Last updated 18 January 1996.