Standing stone with cup markings, 50m south of Standing Stone Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Standing stone with cup markings, 50m south of Standing Stone Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NZ 03330 70448

Reasons for Designation

Standing stones are prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments with dates ranging from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age for the few excavated examples. They comprise single or paired upright orthostatic slabs, ranging from under lm to over 6m high where still erect. They are often conspicuously sited and close to other contemporary monument classes. They can be accompanied by various features: many occur in or on the edge of round barrows, and where excavated, associated subsurface features have included stone cists, stone settings, and various pits and hollows filled in with earth containing human bone, cremations, charcoal, flints, pots and pot sherds. Similar deposits have been found in excavated sockets for standing stones, which range considerably in depth. Several standing stones also bear cup and ring marks. Standing stones may have functioned as markers for routeways, territories, graves, or meeting points, but their accompanying features show they also bore a ritual function and that they form one of several ritual monument classes of their period that often contain a deposit of cremation and domestic debris as an integral component. No national survey of standing stones has been undertaken, and estimates range from 50 to 250 extant examples, widely distributed throughout England but with concentrations in Cornwall, the North Yorkshire Moors, Cumbria, Derbyshire and the Cotswolds. Standing stones are important as nationally rare monuments, with a high longevity and demonstrating the diversity of ritual practices in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. Consequently all undisturbed standing stones and those which represent the main range of types and locations would normally be considered to be of national importance.

Prehistoric rock art is found in many areas of upland Britain and it is especially common in the north of England. The most common form of decoration is the `cup and ring marking' where small cup like hollows are pecked into the surface of rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more `rings'. Other shapes and patterns may 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 standing stone at Standing Stone Farm is very well preserved and retains significant archaeological information; it is of particular importance as it retains evidence of prehistoric motifs and it is one of a small group of three standing stones in the area which, taken together, will add greatly to our knowledge of Bronze Age activity in the region.


The monument includes a standing stone of Bronze Age date situated on a high plateau. The standing stone is 2.15m high by 1m broad and is 0.6m thick and has been formed from a massive freestone block. The upper parts of the stone are deeply grooved and weathered and this has removed much of the original surface of the stone. The lower section of the stone is, however, intact and on three of the four sides it displays cup marks, a form of prehistoric decoration where circular hollows are pecked out of the surface of the stone. A total of 18 cup marks are thought to be visible on the east face, four on the north face and eight on the west face in addition to several indistinct peck marks on all three faces which may mark the position of further less obvious cup marks. The monument is Listed Grade II.

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


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

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Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Northumberland's Prehistoric Rock Carvings: A Mystery Explained , (1983), 220
Beckensall, S, Northumberland's Prehistoric Rock Carvings: A Mystery Explained , (1983), 20
Hope-Dodds, M (ed), A History of Northumberland Volume 12, (1940), 12
Hope-Dodds, M , The Victoria History of the County of Northumberland: Volume XII, (1940), 12
Tomlinson, W W, Comprehensive Guide to Northumberland, (1888)


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.

End of official listing

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