Cup and ring marked rock and adjacent stone setting, 820m east of Whittondean Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011293

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1994


Ordnance survey map of Cup and ring marked rock and adjacent stone setting, 820m east of Whittondean Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Whitton and Tosson

National Grid Reference: NU 06252 00114


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Prehistoric rock art is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland, Durham and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of decoration is the `cup and ring' marking where expanses of small cup-like hollows are pecked into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more `rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the `rings' may also exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Other shapes and patterns also occur, but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups, or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide one of our most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols. Frequently they are found close to contemporary burial monuments and the symbols are also found on portable stones placed directly next to burials or incorporated in burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock-art have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed in activities such as quarrying. All positively identified prehistoric rock art sites exhibiting a significant group of designs will normally be identified as nationally important.

This example includes a large number of designs of various types. Unusually, an adjacent linear setting of stones survives next to the rock, indicating that activities were also taking place around the decorated rock.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a large, flat rock outcrop bearing cup and ring markings of Neolithic/Bronze Age date and a line of upright stones situated on a north- eastern slope 200m above Whitton Burn. There is a variety of different-sized cupmarks, many measuring 15cm or more, but only two cups which clearly have surrounding ring marks. Several large, shallow basins are visible and, as usual in this area, there is a preponderance of long, wavy channels, some 3m long, running the length of the outcrop; some of the channels apparently issue from the shallow basins. To the east of the cupmarked rock there is a rough line of stones running from north-west to south-east; two of the stones which form this line have cupmarks visible on their surface. The stone field wall and the fence which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 20885

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Newbigin, E R, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 4' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 4, (1930), 66-67
Newbigin, E R, 'Proc Soc Antiq Newcastle 4 ser 5 1931 - 32' in Note on Bronze Age cist at Whitton Farm, Rothbury, (1932), 241-2

End of official listing