Cairnfield on Standingstones Rigg, including a cup and ring marked rock 780m and 800m north west of Linglands Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019799

Date first listed: 05-Dec-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Oct-2001


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield on Standingstones Rigg, including a cup and ring marked rock 780m and 800m north west of Linglands Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1019799 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 17:39:16.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Harwood Dale


National Grid Reference: SE 98047 96859, SE 98140 96989


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

Reasons for Designation

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture, and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC), although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size, content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period.

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 into 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 normally will be identified as nationally important. Despite some disturbance from forestry activities the cairnfield on Standingstones Rigg, including a cup and ring marked rock 780m and 800m north east of Linglands Farm has survived well and will preserve significant information about its form and development. Evidence for the nature of Bronze Age agriculture will survive in the old ground surface between the cairns and evidence for earlier land use will be preserved beneath the cairns. Despite disturbance and a little weathering of the decoration, the cup and ring marked rock has also survived well. Its inclusion within the cairnfield will provide evidence for the relationship between agricultural and ritual activity in the prehistoric period. The cairnfield is situated within an area which includes many other prehistoric monuments. Associations such as this offer important scope for the study of the distribution of prehistoric activity across the landscape for social, ritual and agricultural purposes.


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


The monument includes a cairnfield which is situated on a gentle south west facing slope, on the Moor Gritstones towards the eastern edge of the North York Moors. Also included is a cup and ring marked rock. The cairnfield consists of at least 41 cairns distributed between the 170m and 200m contours. Originally, there were at least 64 cairns, but a number have been destroyed by deep furrow ploughing and related forestry activities, largely in the northern part of the cairnfield. The surviving cairns lie in two areas: a group of seven towards the north eastern limit of the cairnfield and the remainder in a larger group in the southern part of the cairnfield. The monument therefore lies in two areas of protection. The cairns are generally sub-circular mounds constructed from small and medium sized stones, although there are one or two which are more elongated in shape. Those in the southern part of the cairnfield are more prominent and well defined. Some incorporate large erratic boulders. Most cairns are between 3m and 6m in diameter, although there are a few both smaller and larger. They stand between 0.3m and 0.6m high. The majority are field clearance cairns which are the result of clearing the ground to improve it for agriculture, but some of the larger cairns were also used as burial mounds. Interspersed between the cairns, especially towards the southern end of the cairnfield, there are occasional traces of walling. These are interpreted as part of the field system which was in use with the clearance cairns. At the northern edge of the southern area there is a cup and ring marked rock. The rock is horizontal and measures 0.9m by 0.4m, oriented east to west. It stands 0.2m above the modern ground surface. On the upper face there is a shallow cup mark surrounded by three concentric rings. A shallow groove runs to the east from the outer ring to a second cup mark. The rock has been disturbed from its original position by forestry ploughing.

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: 34675

Legacy System: RSM


Title: 2nd Edition 25" Ordnance Survey sheet 62/10 Source Date: 1928 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Forestry Commission Areas North York Moors Archaeological Survey Source Date: 1992 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Site 5.20 and related numbers

End of official listing