Ball Cross Carving 01, Bakewell, Derbyshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SK 2310 6911

Archaeology & History

Ball Cross 01 Carving (photo © Dean Thom)
Ball Cross 01 Carving (photo © Dean Thom)

This is another carving (one of three here) that was removed from its landscape setting when found during excavations of the Iron Age hillfort of Ball Cross in the 1950s, and then placed into a box in Sheffield Museum, decontextualizing it and leaving future researchers slightly in the dark as to its possible nature.  In removing the carving from its site, the stone was left with additional scratches and grooves slightly damaging the stone.  Not good!

Ball Cross Carving (after Beckensall)
Ball Cross Carving (after Beckensall)
Ball Cross Carving (after A. Cooper)
Ball Cross Carving (after A. Cooper)

Although unlike the Ball Cross 2 and 3 carvings, the design here is structurally very similar to that found east of Gardoms Edge, with this one comprising of a large unbroken carved oval, with at least twelve cup-marks inside.  Or as Beckensall (1999) described, it “has 12 cups inside a flattened ring.”  Again, like the Gardoms Edge carving, a single cup-mark was etched outside of the enclosed ring. It was found with its companion carvings built into the main walled structure of the hillfort.  It’s unlikely that the stones date from the same age as the hillfort: more probable that they were re-used in the structure, with their mythic nature perhaps already long forgotten…


  1. Barnatt, John & Reeder, Phil, “Prehistoric Rock Art in the Peak District,” in Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, 102, 1982.
  2. Beckensall, Stan, British Prehistoric Rock Art, Tempus: Stroud 1999.
  3. Beckensall, Stan, Circles in Stone: A British Prehistoric Mystery, Tempus: Stroud 2006.
  4. Cooper, Ali, Archaeology Walks in the Peak District, Sigma: Wilmslow 2010.
  5. Morgan, Victorian & Paul, Rock Around the Peak, Sigma: Wilmslow 2001.
  6. Stanley, J., “An Iron Age fort at Ball Cross Farm, Bakewell,” in Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, volume 74, 1954.

Acknowledgements:  HUGE thanks to Dean Thom for the use of his photo, plus helpful data on this site.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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