Cup and ring marked rock 700m south east of Howdale Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019722

Date first listed: 09-Mar-2001

Map

Ordnance survey map of Cup and ring marked rock 700m south east of Howdale Farm
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: LCPs of Fylingdales and Hawsker-cum-Stainsacre

National Park: NORTH YORK MOORS

National Grid Reference: NZ 95596 01225

Summary

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 (c.2800-500 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 and ring marked rock 700m south east of Howdale Farm survives well. Such monuments are rare in the North York Moors and this example is part of a concentration of similar carved rocks on Howdale Moor. Taken with the surrounding rock art and other prehistoric sites, the monument offers important scope for understanding the changing patterns of ritual and social activities in the area during the prehistoric period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes an earthfast rock with carvings on its surface. It is located in open moorland on the eastern edge of Howdale Moor. This is the easternmost extent of the sandstone, heather covered moor characteristic of the North York Moors. Today the moor is little used but archaeological evidence indicates that this has not always been the case. The prehistoric period in particular saw extensive agricultural use of the area. It was also used for burials and activities associated with the carving of patterns on exposed rock. Remains of these activities survive today. The carvings are on the flat upper face of an earthfast rock measuring 1.6m by 1.2m. The carving includes approximately 40 cup marks, 3 with surrounding rings and a comb style pattern. This carved rock is close to a group of similar monuments located 900m to the east.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 34402

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Bradley, R, Rock Art and the Prehistory of Atlantic Europe, (1997)

End of official listing