Rock carved human figure 570m south of King Lane Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019636

Date first listed: 05-Jan-2001


Ordnance survey map of Rock carved human figure 570m south of King Lane Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Alwoodley

National Grid Reference: SE 28515 40365


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

Reasons for Designation

Roman religion adopted wholesale the classical pantheon of the Greeks. To this the Romans grafted their own Italic and Etruscan beliefs frequently associated with fertility and vegetation, and thus with the conquest of Britain AD 43-410 brought to the province classical deities covering a wide range of functions. The indigenous population of Britain had already evolved a comprehensive mythology of its own, based partly on the worship of natural phenomena and partly on the worship of those aspects of life it considered vital - prosperity, fertility, war and death. Roman toleration of native religions enabled the deities of both conqueror and conquered to intermingle by means of process of identification known as syncretism. The Roman god Mars, for example, originally an Italic deity associated with fertility and untamed woodlands, became linked with Celtic warrior deities such as Cocidius. Another Roman deity, Silanus, was the woodland god worshipped under his own name and in identification with native gods in the northern frontier region.

The rock carved human figure, 570m south of King Lane Farm, is the only example of Romano-British rock carving known in West Yorkshire and one of very few known outside the frontier region of Northern England. The shield and spear suggest the figure depicts a warrior god and is believed to represent the Celtic deity Cocidius. The carving provides a very important contribution to the knowledge and understanding of Celtic art and religion in this area and in the wider landscape.


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


The monument includes a carved, earthfast, gritstone boulder which forms part of a natural outcrop in Alwoodley Crags Plantation. The outcrop is situated on a fairly steep, south facing slope, with the carving positioned at the base of the outcrop on the almost vertical, south east face.

The carving depicts a schematic image of a human figure in a style typical of the Brigantes tribal region. The carving is difficult to date, but the depiction of a circular shield is characteristic of early Roman images. The figure has been identified as a Celtic warrior god Cocidius, a deity which features regularly in Romano-British society. The figure is approximately 40cm high with a sub-circular head, almost square body and disproportionately long arms and legs. The legs are not clearly defined and the right side of the figure is either more eroded, or was carved less deeply than the left. The facial features of the figure are barely discernible but the eyes are set close together and positioned high on the face above a long nose. These types of features are typical of the Celtic portrayal of the human figure. Two concentric circles extending from the left hand are understood to be a shield, and carved linear forms extending from the right hand are interpreted as a spear or sword.

It is unclear why this carving is located here as there are no contemporary monuments or features in the immediate area, although the Roman fort and settlement at Adel lies only 1km to the north west. Comparable examples elsewhere in the country (which are few in number) have been interpreted as shrines or burial markers, but in this the case there is no indication where any burial may have lain.

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.

Legacy System number: 29986

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Charlton, D B, Mitcheson, M M, 'Britannia' in Yardhope. A shrine to Cocidius, , Vol. XIV, (1983), 143-153
Confirm. of authenticity of carving, Green, Miranda , Alwoodley Crags Plantation carving, (1988)
Dr Jane Webster, Current thoughts and evidence regarding celtic warrior god carv., (2000)

End of official listing