Photos: Cropmarks Reveal Traces of Lost Civilizations in England

Neolithic Cursus

Ancient Civilization markings

(Image credit: Damian Grady/Copyright Historic England)

The rectangle cropmarks found near Clifton Reynes, Milton Keynes reveal two Neolithic cursus monuments that likely date to between 3600 and 3000 B.C. Though the monument to the left was recently found as part of another project, the one on the right was hidden under a headland that is now being ploughed. Archeologists aren't sure how ancient people used cursus monuments but guess that they may have been enclosed paths, processional ways or even boundaries between different landscapes.

Iron Age Round

Ancient Civilization markings

(Image credit: Damian Grady/Copyright Historic England)

This circular cropmark found in St. Ive, Cornwall probably comes from a roundhouse that dates back to England's Iron Age, between 800 B.C. and A.D. 43. These types of settlements, with a circular bank and outer ditch that contains one entrance and a round house close to the edge of the ditch, was common in Cornwall at that time.

Prehistoric Settlement

Ancient Civilization markings

(Image credit: Damian Grady/Copyright Historic England)

These cropmarks reveal a prehistoric settlement in Cornwall. This unusual layout consists of two concentric ditches with an entrance connected by two parallel ditches. The inner ditch could have enclosed a Bronze or Iron age settlement, whereas the outer ditch could have been used as a means to manage livestock later in history.

Square Barrows

Ancient Civilization markings

(Image credit: Emma Trevarthen/Copyright Historic England)

In Yorkshire, the archaeologists found four cropmark squares that likely reveal ditches enclosing a burial mound. These Iron Age square barrows are common in this area.

Burial Mound

Ancient Civilization markings

(Image credit: Emma Trevarthen/Copyright Historic England)

These circular cropmarks found in Scropton, Derbyshire likely depict a complicated structure from a Bronze age burial mound or a barrow.

Prehistoric Cemetery

Ancient Civilization markings

(Image credit: Damian Grady/Copyright Historic England)

These cropmarks found in Clare, Suffolk belong either to a prehistoric settlement or a cemetery. There is an entrance at the top left and two circles inside that could be ditches surrounding Iron Age round houses or Bronze Age burial mounds.

Roman Farm

Ancient Civilization markings

(Image credit: Damian Grady/Copyright Historic England)

In Bicton, Devon, archeologists found cropmarks likely depicting a Roman farm. The square in the center could have contained farm buildings surrounded by fields and paddocks.

Prehistoric Farm

Ancient Civilization markings

(Image credit: Damian Grady/Copyright Historic England)

These cropmarks found in Somerset, likely reveal prehistoric farms from the Bronze or Iron age.

Prehistoric Ditch

Ancient Civilization markings

(Image credit: Damian Grady/Copyright Historic England)

This circular cropmark found in Churchstanton, Somerset is probably a prehistoric enclosure surrounded by a thin ditch with an entrance at the top.

Intermingling Marks

Ancient Civilization markings

(Image credit: Emma Trevarthan/Copyright Historic England)

To the right of a gatehouse built in 1557, there are cropmarks that mark where the grass is dying over another building, Tixall Hall, that was built in 1555. These marks are intermingled with others that depict the foundations of a partially-built hall demolished in 1926.

Ceremonial Landscape

Ancient Civilization markings

(Image credit: Damian Grady/Copyright Historic England)

This protected site, a prehistoric ceremonial landscape that dates back to around 4000 B.C. to 700 B.C. in Eynsham, Oxfordshire, has been known to exist for some time. But this new survey revealed some new, previously unknown features, such as a circle of pits.