Carved rock and cairn in Rowley Intake, 410m south east of Cowclose House, Barningham Moor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017422

Date first listed: 24-Oct-1997


Ordnance survey map of Carved rock and cairn in Rowley Intake, 410m south east of Cowclose House, Barningham Moor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: County Durham (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Barningham

National Grid Reference: NZ 06687 09320


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.

Funerary cairns date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. Cairns are often a major visual element in the landscape, as they frequently occupy prominent positions. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands. Their considerable variation in form, and longevity as a monument type, provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period, and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. The carved rock and cairn 410m south east of Cowclose House form part of a wider group of carved rocks and other archaeological features on Barningham Moor. The carving on the rock survives well and will contribute to studies of prehistoric rock art in northern England. The cairn survives well and will also preserve information relating to its relationship with the carved rock. The features in this area form an important part of the prehistoric landscape of Barningham Moor, which includes numerous other prehistoric carved rocks and evidence for prehistoric burials, settlements and the agricultural use of the land. This site will therefore contribute to studies of such prehistoric landscapes and the changing patterns of land use over time.


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


The monument includes a carved rock and a cairn. It is situated on a prominent knoll in Rowley Intake south east of Cowclose House. The carved rock lies approximately 18m north of the cairn, and measures 0.8m by 0.5m by 0.25m. The carving consists of one cup mark. The cairn is 6m in diameter and 0.4m high. It is composed of sandstone rubble, and is covered in heather.

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: 30488

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing