Background

Arbor Low and Gib Hill from the south-west

The Peak District of Derbyshire is divided into 2 main zones – the White Peak and the Dark Peak – with each zone being determined by its underlying geology. The White Peak is a Carboniferous Limestone plateau lying between approximately 200-400m above sea level. Almost surrounding this is the Dark Peak, lying on Gritstone. 

The area is known for its extensive number of archaeological sites ranging from prehistory such as Nine Stone Close stone circle to WWII bunkers. These can be found in both the White and Dark Peak zones. Arbor Low itself is located in the White Peak zone of the Peak District in Derbyshire (SK 1603 6355). 

Arbor Low is a henge monument and dates to the Neolithic period (c4000 bc to c2300 bc). The bulk of sites dating to this period are monuments such as long barrows and chambered tombs. Arbor Low is one of two henges found in the Peak District, the other being The Bull Ring (SK 0784 7823). A significant difference between the two is that Arbor Low contains a ‘circle’ of stones within its interior. Whilst this is not unknown, it is unusual.

Arbor Low has long been the focus of both antiquarian and archaeological interest. In spite of this,  little has been added to the body of our understanding of this monument since the early 20th century. A key facet of antiquarian and archaeological literature concerning the site is that the focus has been the monument itself whilst the landscape and setting has been largely neglected; hence, the overall aim of this project is to re-consider the henge monument within a landscape that surrounds it.

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