Standing stone with cup markings, 230m south of Sandyway Heads


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014070

Date first listed: 24-Jan-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Standing stone with cup markings, 230m south of Sandyway Heads
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Matfen

National Grid Reference: NZ 04347 74657

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 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 onto the surfaces 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 Neolithic or Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide some of our most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The standing stone at Sandway Heads is well preserved and retains significant archaeological information including evidence of prehistoric cup marks. It is one of a small group of three standing stones in the area which, taken together, will add to our knowledge and understanding of Bronze Age settlement and activity in the region.


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone of Bronze Age date situated near the top of a promiment rise. The standing stone is 2m high and 0.5m square at the base and 1m wide at the top. It has been fashioned from a massive freestone block, the upper parts of which are weathered and deeply grooved and it leans slightly to the south. The eastern face of the standing stone displays at least four cup marks or shallow, circular prehistoric motifs pecked out of the surface of the stone. The standing stone is known locally as `The Warrior Stone'.

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: 25181

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hope-Dodds, M , The Victoria History of the County of Northumberland: Volume XII, (1940), 13

NZ 07 SW 10,

End of official listing