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Cup and ring marked rock on Tod Crag

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Cup and ring marked rock on Tod Crag

List entry Number: 1013542


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Elsdon

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 21-Jul-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Aug-1995

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 25037

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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.

The cup and ring marks on Tod Crag are particularly well defined and are good examples of their type. They will add to our knowledge and understanding of prehistoric rock art in Britain.


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


The monument includes a series of cup and ring marks situated on a natural shelf of sandstone on the northern edge of a rocky plateau known as Tod Crag. The visible part of the outcrop, which measures 3m by 1.5m, bears a scatter of at least 23 circular depressions, or cup marks, formed by chipping the rock surface with a hand tool. The cups vary in size but are on average 7cm-8cm in diameter with the largest measuring 12cm and the smallest 3cm. At least six of the cups are surrounded by concentric double rings similarly pecked out of the sandstone; these cups with rings form an outer arc to the apparently random pattern of carvings. Two other cups are surrounded by single rings and three of those surrounded by rings also have narrow ducts running from their centre. Further carvings may exist on the surface of the outcrop which is still covered by vegetation. The site of a round cairn south of the rock is much disturbed and is not included in the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Northumberland's Prehistoric Rock Carvings: A Mystery Explained , (1983), 221-2
Beckensall, S, Prehistoric Rock Motifs of Northumberland Volume 2, (1992), 58
Newbigin, E R, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 4' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 4, (1930), 86-8
NY 98 NE 02,

National Grid Reference: NY 97208 89130


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This copy shows the entry on 25-Sep-2018 at 03:51:17.

End of official listing