This stone circle was first surveyed and recorded by Major Rooke and appears on his plan of major monuments on Stanton Moor dated 1784. (1)
On a location map of numbered 'tumuli' on Stanton Moor (2) this monument is depicted shown as number 43 (referred to as T43). Heathcote spent much of the time between c. 1936 and 1938 uncovering the banks of this feature, together with those of the other two ‘disc mounds’, T56 [SMR 12912] and T61 [SMR 12907]. Two of these mounds show large recumbent stones on the inner edge of their banks which may have stood upright (3). However, no excavation report was published for T43, although Heathcote notes traces of a central mound which has been 'rifled' (4). A later source gives T43 a diameter of 18.2m and describes it as comprising a circular bank of rubble broken by entrances north and south (5).
During field investigations of Stanton Moor T43 is recorded as a probable enclosed cremation cemetery with entrances north and south, with evidence of an outer bank 2m wide and 0.1m high. (6)
In a discussion of ring-work monuments in Derbyshire, T43 is referred to as being the southernmost of three 'earth rings' (the others being T56 and T61), and having a diameter of 18.2m. (7)
The enclosure bank is of earth and rubble, appearing to have inner stone retaining walls, with a slight discontinuous outer ditch, especially near the two paved entrances, the interior is described as flat. Barnatt (8) records the monument as being triangular in shape, formed by a bank 0.6m high retained on both edges by drystone walls, with an outer diameter of 17.4m by 15.5m and an internal diameter of 13.4m by 11.9m; a single entrance 0.9m wide is recorded at the south. The central area is badly disturbed, with a pit at the centre with a mound around it. Barnatt also suggests (9) that the monument is one in a deliberate line of seven large monuments constructed in a north-northeast/south-southwest line across Stanton Moor.
In another study the monument is described as having large boulders in the foundation of the bank with small stones topping it. (10)
The Royal Commission for the Historic Monuments of England (RCHME) carried out a detailed survey of Stanton Moor. Their field description is as follows: Embanked Stone Circle. The present ring bank defines a monument which is sub-triangular shaped, with its corners at the southwest, southeast and apex at the north, measuring 14.0m east-west by 15.2m north-south between bank centres, 16.7m by 17.4m between outer edges of the bank and with a single, well-defined entrance gap at the south. The categorisation as an embanked stone circle is suggested by the presence of six largish stones on the inside of the bank. From close examination of this bank it is clear that it has been subjected to intensive excavation, and, in sections, has been completely rebuilt, therefore very little of the original form of the banking survives. The only break evident in the bank is a gap 0.4m wide at the south, although the gap has been cleared out by a continuation of the excavation delineation trenching. Within the inner area of the monument is a hollowing south of centre, 3.5m by 2.3m, and appears to be where illicit digging or antiquarian delving took place. Despite modification, the basic egg-shape of this monument is still dominant. A number of classifications have been applied to this monument, however the presence of significant orthostats in the inner edge of the ring bank, is generally accepted as criteria for an embanked stone circle. (11)
This embanked stone circle is situated at the heart of Stanton Moor, at 305m OD. It is located within an extensive cairnfield and lies in a line of ceremonial sites which cross the moor. The site has a well-defined sub-triangular bank. A narrow entrance orientated to the south breaks one of the sides a third of the way along its length. Heathcote partially excavated the site in the 1930s or 40s (unpublished), following the bank and clearing the entrance – the internal edge of his trench is still clearly visible. This work revealed several small orthostats. There is one stone in the entrance midway along the eastern terminal. This now leans badly into the entrance but originally would have stood c. 0.40m high. It is unclear how many stones originally stood in the entrance terminals but the placing of the surviving stone illustrates that it is unlikely there were four radial stones (as found at Stoke Flat, for example. Two orthostats still stand on the inner edge of the bank, together with one to four fallen stones (the smaller of these may be tumble from the bank). If all six surviving stones were once standing, their spacing suggests that the original total was eleven orthostats, assuming they were regularly spaced. The site is in substantially the same state today as when it was illustrated by Pegge in 1787, except that he showed no orthostats. The central area is disturbed by a large pit of unknown date, with upcast thrown to the northeast. There is not sufficient debris here to suggest there was ever a central cairn. (12)
The monument is scheduled as part of Stanton Moor Scheduled Monument. (13)