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Essex Field Club
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Geology Site Account

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Stansted Airport Stone, TAKELEY , Uttlesford District, TL56112122, Potential Local Geological Site

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Site name: Stansted Airport Stone

Grid reference: TL 5611 2122

Brief description of site:

Sarsen stone situated on the grass adjacent to the Four Ashes crossroads in Takeley. It was discovered in an archaeological excavation at Stansted Airport and it is thought that it may have had ceremonial or ritual significance to Bronze Age people.



A sarsen about one metre (3 feet) square with an interesting history is situated on the grass adjacent to the Four Ashes crossroads. This stone was discovered in 2000 by archaeologists working for British Airports Authority on land designated for a car park extension at Stansted Airport (gride ref. TL 552 224). It was found in a pit which was part of a complex of Bronze Age dwellings and had clearly been placed in the pit some 3,500 years ago, suggesting that it had ceremonial or ritual significance (Anon 2001). The stone was moved here in 2003 and provided with a plaque by the Takeley Local History Society.

Sarsens are extremely hard boulders of sandstone formed around 55 million years ago when the climate of Britain was hot and a layer of sand beneath the surface of the ground became cemented with quartz. They are thus very resistant to erosion and have survived the rigours of the Ice Age. They originated on the chalk downland north and west of Essex and were carried here by rivers and glaciers.

The sarsen stone being excavated at Stansted Airport. Copyright © Framework Archaeology


The Stansted Airport Sarsen Stone at Takeley.
The Stansted Airport Sarsen Stone at Takeley.
The Takeley sarsen unveiling ceremony on 19th July 2003.
The Takeley sarsen unveiling ceremony on 19th July 2003.

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Reference: Anon 2001

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