Find the word definition

Crossword clues for henge

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1740, noted as a Yorkshire word for structures such as Stonehenge.


n. A prehistoric enclosure in the form of a circle or circular arc defined by a raised circular bank and a circular ditch usually running inside the bank, with one or more entrances leading into the enclosed open space.


There are three related types of Neolithic earthwork that are all sometimes loosely called henges. The essential characteristic of all three types is that they feature a ring bank and ditch, but with the ditch inside the bank rather than outside. Due to the poor defensive utility of an enclosure with an external bank and an internal ditch, henges are not considered to have served a defensive purpose (cf. circular rampart). The three types are as follows, with the figure in brackets being the approximate diameter of the central flat area:

  1. Henge (> 20 m). The word henge refers to a particular type of earthwork of the Neolithic period, typically consisting of a roughly circular or oval-shaped bank with an internal ditch surrounding a central flat area of more than in diameter. There is typically little if any evidence of occupation in a henge, although they may contain ritual structures such as stone circles, timber circles and coves. Henge monument is sometimes used as a synonym for henge. Henges sometimes, but by no means always, featured stone or timber circles, and circle henge is sometimes used to describe these structures. The three largest stone circles in Britain ( Avebury, the Great Circle at Stanton Drew stone circles and the Ring of Brodgar) are each in a henge. Examples of henges without significant internal monuments are the three henges of Thornborough Henges. Although having given its name to the word henge, Stonehenge is an atypical henge in that the ditch is outside the main earthwork bank.
  2. Hengiform monument (5 ≤ diameter ≤ 20 m). Like an ordinary henge except the central flat area is between 5 and 20 m (16–66 ft) in diameter, they comprise a modest earthwork with a fairly wide outer bank. Mini henge or Dorchester henge are sometimes used as synonyms for hengiform monument. An example is the Neolithic site at Wormy Hillock Henge.
  3. Henge enclosure (> 300 m). A Neolithic ring earthwork with the ditch inside the bank, with the central flat area having abundant evidence of occupation and usually being more than in diameter. Some true henges are as large as this (e.g., Avebury), but lack evidence of domestic occupation. Super henge is sometimes used as a synonym for a henge enclosure. However, sometimes Super henge is used to indicate size alone rather than use, e.g. " Marden henge ... is the least understood of the four British 'superhenges' (the others being Avebury, Durrington Walls and Mount Pleasant Henge".
Henge (film)

Henge (Metamorphosis) is a 2012 Japanese horror film directed by Ohata Hajime. It was screened at the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival and the San Diego Asian Film Festival.

Usage examples of "henge".

The henge was a mass of battling wolves and skellers, the grey shapes leaping with snapping jaws to meet the black-winged monsters that dropped from the sky.

They came to Taplin Hill, this host, to where the High Tor reaches its henge moon-high, where dwelt the Wessener, the Gatekeepers.

Jasell Henge and later told her to strike the Waster with her sword in Cosrandra.

At the touch, a tingle arose in her again and the darkness shrouding the henge seemed to draw back, the old longstones huddling closer to the kingstone and to her.

Thenn thurled thay ayther thik side thur3 bi the rybbe, And henged thenne ayther bi ho3e3 of the fourchez, Vche freke for his fee, as falle3 for to haue.

He were a bleaunt of blwe that bradde to the erthe, His surkot semed hym wel that softe wat3 forred, And his hode of that ilke henged on his schulder, Blande al of blaunner were bothe al aboute.

The pillars of the henge gleam in the sun, the capstones black and dead.

The strength of conviction demanded to inspire such awesome labors, constructing an entire complex of henges (Avebury and Woodhenge lie nearby), all to reflect an understanding of our universe as revealed in the sky, is difficult for us to fathom.

Since the young drow was clearly beyond help, Henge did not linger over him or waste any energy on grief.