Prehistoric cup marked stone 380m south of Gillalees


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016399

Date first listed: 22-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric cup marked stone 380m south of Gillalees
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Carlisle (District Authority)

Parish: Askerton

National Grid Reference: NY 57085 70888


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'. Pecked lines or grooves can also exist in isolation from cup and ring decoration. 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 marked stone 380m south of Gillalees is one of a small number of examples of prehistoric rock art known in Cumbria. It contains a variety of designs and is a good example of this class of monument.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric carved granite stone which is located 380m south of Gillalees. The stone measures 1.2m long by 0.3m thick and is 1.2m wide at its western end tapering to 0.7m wide at its eastern end. Its uppermost face displays prehistoric rock art carving depicting 27 cup marks, two rings, a chevron, and a sinuous linear feature. The cup marks are shallow circular depressions pecked into the stone; they vary in size between 0.04m to 0.1m in diameter and two of the larger ones are each surrounded by a single carved ring. The chevron has been carved at the eastern end of the stone with its apex pointing to the west. Close to the chevron, near the north east corner of the stone, there is a faint sinuous linear feature measuring approximately 0.26m long with two arms curving towards the northern edge of the 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: 27784

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Cumbrian Prehistoric Rock Art: Symbols, Monument & Landscapes, (1992), 30

End of official listing