Cup-and-Ring Stone: OS Grid Reference – SE 13611 45616
Also Known as:
- Carving no.183 (Hedges)
Follow the same directions as if you’re gonna visit the Idol Stone carving. From here, keep walking uphill until your reach the rocky crags on the slope above. Go left (southeast) along the small footpath that runs along the top of this ridge for 350 yards (320m) and, where the path begins to very gradually slope back downhill a little, go sharp left, downhill for 50 yards, where a couple of large rocks stand out. Before one of these, low down in the heather, you’ll find this curious cup-and-ring stone.
Archaeology & History
This is a lovely cup-and-ring stone, seemingly recorded for the first time by fellow rock-art student Stuart Feather (Radford 1968) in one of his numerous ramblings over these moors. It’s a difficult habit to break once the bug bites! The rock itself is unusual, possessed of undulating geophysical waves or ripples across its surface, similar to a cluster of others a couple of miles west near the very top of Rombald’s Moor. The curvaceous feature alone would have given this stone a spirit-nature of its own, different from the others in this area — though we may never know what that might have been.
The cups carved onto this rock are cut much deeper than most other prehistoric carvings along this ridge and, for some reason or other, give an immediate impression of having been painted and coloured in lichens or other natural dyes, to encourage or awaken the mythic history within and around the stone. It’s a formula that occurs worldwide and needs serious consideration, not just here, but at many other outcrop carvings in Wharfedale and much further afield.
The carving was described in John Hedges’ (1986) fine survey as a,
“Fairly small flat rock, level with the ground, sloping slightly in heather and crowberry, its surface layered in waves which appear to have been incorporated in the design which covers the rock. About 25 cups, some very deep and some showing pick marks, three are enclosed in rings, one of which has three cups in its circumference and a groove leading from it to edge of rock.”
Many other carvings scatter the moorland plain of Woofa Bank — some recorded, others not — in a region rich in Bronze Age and probably earlier cairns. We’ll add all their profiles here as time floats by…
- Bennett, Paul, Of Cups and Rings and Things, unpublished: Shipley 1981.
- Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
- Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
- Radley, J. (ed.), “Yorkshire Archaeological Register, 1968,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 42: part 166, 1968.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian