Fiscary Cairnfield, Bettyhill, Sutherland

Cairnfield:  OS Grid Reference – NC 7279 6232

Getting Here

Tumuli on 1878 map

From Bettyhill, go out of the village along the A836 Thurso road for just over a mile.  You go uphill for a few hundred yards and just as the road levels-out, there’s the small Farr Road on your left and the cattle-grid in front of you.  Just before here is a small cottage on your left.  In the scrubland on the sloping hillside just below the cottage, a number of small mounds and undulations can be seen.  That’s it!

Archaeology & History

Although this place was highlighted on the first OS-map of the area in 1878, I can only find one modern reference describing this somewhat anomalous cluster of sites.  It’s anomalous, inasmuch as it doesn’t have the general hallmark of being a standard cairnfield or cluster of tumuli.  For one, it’s on a slightly steep slope; and another is that amidst what seems to be cairns there are other, more structured remains.  As I wandered back and forth here with Aisha, I kept shaking my head as it seemed somewhat of a puzzling site.  As it turns out, thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who thought this…

One of the ‘cairns’ from above
Profile of a typical cairn

In R.J. Mercer’s (1981) huge work on the prehistory of the region, he described the site as a whole as a field system comprising “enclosures, structures, cairns and field walls” and is part of a continual archaeological landscape that exists immediately east, of which the impressive Fiscary cairns are attached.  In all, this ‘cairnfield’ or field system is made up of at least 23 small man-made structures, with each one surviving “to a height of c.0.5m and are associated with 11 cairns from 2-6m is diameter.”

In truth, this site is probably of little interest visually unless you’re a hardcore archaeologist or explorer.

References:

  1. Mercer, R.J., Archaeological Field Survey in Northern Scotland – volume 2: 1980-1981, University of Edinburgh 1981.

Acknowledgments:  To the awesome Aisha Domleo, for her images, bounce, spirit and madness – as well as getting me up here to see this cluster of sites.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  58.530344, -4.186397 Fiscary cairnfield

Lower Lanshaw Dam (02), Burley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 14223 44888

Getting Here

Along the moorland road between Cow & Calf and The Hermit pub, park up at the small wooded bit by the right-angle bend and cross over the Coldstone Beck.  Walk up onto the moor itself and stick to the path that runs roughly parallel with the slowly-drying stream, towards Lower Lanshaw Dam.  About 100 yards before it, walk left, into the heather, for about 50 yards.  You’re damn close!

Archaeology & History

Lower Lanshaw Dam carving
Close-up of cupmarks (by James Elkington)

This is another neolithic or Bronze Age carving I first came across during one of my weekly rambles across these hills as a child, and upon revisiting the place a few days ago with James Elkington, found it associated with nearby cairns and what looks to be the remains of prehistoric walling – none of which I noticed when I was a kid.  The petroglyph is a simple design, primarily consisting of two rows of three cup-marks: one row of three along the top or spine of the rock, and another one immediately beneath it, an inch or so below.  The topmost line of cups runs into a natural crack in the rock, which runs down the northwest edge of the stone.  A possible faint cup and partial ring emerges on the southeast side of the topmost row of cups, but this is difficult to make out.  On the sloping northwest face of the rock is another single cup-marking.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, Of Cups and Rings and Things, unpublished: Shipley 1981.

Acknowledgements:  Many thanks to James Elkington for use of his photo to illustrate this petroglyph

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Lower Lanshaw Dam CR-2

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Lower Lanshaw Dam CR-2 53.899968, -1.785029 Lower Lanshaw Dam CR-2

Lower Lanshaw Dam (01), Burley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1416 4489

Getting Here

Take the same directions as if you’re visiting the Lanshaw Dam 2 petroglyph, then keep walking directly towards the Lanshaw Dam, 130 yards east.  Halfway between the two, closer to the footpath, look out for a stone of similar shape and dimensions to Lanshaw 2, just by a prehistoric cairn.  You’ll find it!

Archaeology & History

Cup-marked stone & cairn
Close-up of cup marking

As with a great number of petroglyphs in and around Yorkshire, this large single cup-marked rock is found in close association with a reasonably large prehistoric cairn (several others are close by), some 3 yards in diameter.  The cup-marking here is larger than yer average cup-mark on these moors, being four inches across. It can clearly be seen on the southern vertical face of the rock and doesn’t appear to have been recorded before.  On the whole, it’s nothing special to look at and is probably just one for the petroglyphic purists amongst you.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Lanshaw Dam CR-1

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Lanshaw Dam CR-1 53.899988, -1.785988 Lower Lanshaw Dam CR-1

Cock Howe, Skelton Moor, Marske, North Yorkshire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 0811 0063

Getting Here

Cock Howe1 cairn

Take the minor high road between the hamlets of Marske and Fremington (up Hard Stiles from Marske side), turning up Stelling Road at the crossroads, and ⅔-mile (1.1km) along, turn right up Helwith Road. ¾-mile (1.2km) along, on the right, walk thru the gate onto the moor following the walling.  Nearly 400 yards on you meet a junction of walling: walk past this until you reach the next line of walling and then follow it northeast for just over 500 yards. Once there, look for the mounds in the heather immediately south, less than 50 yards away.

Archaeology & History

This is one of the “isolated cairns of fair size” mentioned in passing by Tim Laurie (1985) in his survey of the massive settlement and field systems scattering this gorgeous moorland arena.  It is one amongst a scatter of several in and around the eastern height of Cock Howe hill on the south side of Skelton Moor.  The area has sadly been scarred by an excess of old lime mines—many of which are visible close by—damaging with some severity the excess of prehistoric remains on these moors, none of which have yet been excavated in any detail.  This cairn included.

More cairns to the rear

Even though much of the heather here had been burnt back when James Elkington and I visited the place recently, the pile of stones was still very embedded into the peat.  The moorland rabbits had dislodged some of the stones, highlighting the mass of rocks much better.  It stands nearly a metre high and is roughly 7 yards by 8 yards in diameter from edge to edge, structurally similar to the many Bronze Age cairns scattering Rombalds Moor, Askwith Moor and other Yorkshire clusters.  A second cairn of similar size and stature exists some 30 yards to the southeast (visible on one of the photos).

For anyone who might visit this site, the most impressive features hereby are the huge settlement remains scattering the moors just north of the wall a few yards away.  When the heather has been burnt back, a veritable prehistoric city unfolds before your eyes, with extensive lengths of walling, hut circles and what can only be described as huge halls, in which tribal meetings probably occurred – much of it in superb condition!  Well worth visiting.

References:

  1. Laurie, T.C., “Early Land Division and Settlement in Swaledale,” in Upland Settlement in Britain: the Second Millennium B.C. and After, ed. Don Spratt and Colin Burgess, BAR British Series 143, 1985.
  2. Martlew, R.D., Prehistory in the Yorkshire Dales, YDLRT: York 2011.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  54.401074, -1.876583 Cock Howe (1) cairn

Death’s Head Carving (577), Askwith Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 17795 51235

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.577

 

Getting Here

Follow the directions to find the Tree of Life Stone, then follow the main footpath uphill from it.  Once on the level, look out for a couple of large rocks abaat 100 yards to your left.  Check ’em out, cos it’s on one of ’em!

Archaeology & History

This is another decent carving living on these prolific moors.  Found near the end of a lengthy line of prehistoric walling that runs east-west over this part of the moor, the general Rorsharch-response to this carving is of some sorta skull or screaming face.  My impression of it the other day was, “it looks like a pig!”

Although mentioned by numerous writers, the first description of it was in Eric Cowling’s (1937) essay on the cup-and-ring stones north of Otley, saying:

“On an isolated table stone, situated at the upper end of the shallow valley which drains Snowden Carr, the writer found a marking having a strangely skull-like appearance, but which is really a group of three large cups which are linked by inter-turning curved grooves.”

Close-up of main design
The Death’s Head Rock

He then strives to make links between this carving and the design on the Swastika Stone above Ilkley — which in some way is a little similar, i.e., as a three-armed triskele swastika; but the notion is perhaps as accurate as saying it represents a cloud, or a tree, or bird-flight, or any number of other natural phenomena.  Beckensall’s (1999) brief note of the stone — despite getting his grid-ref off by a few hundred yards — described it as “four cups linked and enclosed by grooves, unconvincingly suggesting a skull to some people.”  With Boughey & Vickerman (2003) saying:

“Fairly large, upstanding rock with surface sloping down to N. Figure of four cups linked by and enclosed by grooves: entire pattern resembles a skull, hence the name ‘Death’s Head Rock.'”

References:

  1. Beckensall, Stan, British Prehistoric Rock Art, Tempus: Stroud 1999.
  2. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  3. Cowling, Eric T., “Cup and Ring Markings to the North of Otley,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, part 131, 33:3, 1937.
  4. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way: A Prehistory of Mid-Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1946.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Deaths Head carving

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Deaths Head carving 53.956903, -1.730302 Deaths Head carving

Snowden Carr Carving (580), Askwith, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 17798 51007

Getting Here

Snowden Moor carving 580

Same direction as for cup-and-ring carving 581.  This small pyramidal stone (easily missed if you aint careful) is literally a yard or away.

Archaeology & History

The first description of this little stone was by Boughey & Vickerman (2003). Found amidst the cairnfield first mentioned by Cowling (1937), he missed this in his early days — but it’s easily done!  All we have here on the very top of the stone is a “cup with a gapped ring”, fading away beneath elements and poor light conditions.

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Cowling, Eric T., “Cup and Ring Markings to the North of Otley,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, part 131, 33:3, 1937.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Snowden Carr CR-580

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Snowden Carr CR-580 53.954854, -1.730269 Snowden Carr CR-580

Snowden Carr Carving (579), Askwith, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 17798 51007

Also Known as:

  1. Small Rings Stone

Getting Here

Follow the directions to reach cup-and-ring Carving 581 and this small stone is about 10 yards above it, up the slight slope amidst the heather.  You might have to look around a bit though, as it’s a small flat stone and gets easily overgrown.

Archaeology & History

Broken cup-and-ring stone

Founds amidst a cluster of what Eric Cowling called “a barrow group,” or a cluster of cairns, is this excellent little carved stone, with a number of cup-and-rings close to what is now the northern edge of the rock.  But this small stone has blatantly been split off from a larger piece (perhaps split in half), but a brief scramble in the heather here couldn’t locate the other part of the stone — which is a great pity.  For although we have four or five cup-and-rings linking onto each other, where the stone has been split, one of the cups has been cut away and it seems obvious that there was more carved onto the other lost section of the stone — wherever it may be!  There is the possibility that this stone was thrown down from a nearby cairn and was broken in the course of its movement; but we might only find this after the heather’s been burnt back in the near future.  Anyway, Boughey & Vickerman (2003) discerned this as a

“small square rock with smooth level surface.  Six cups, five with incomplete rings and some running into one and other.”

It’s a good one (despite what my poor photos may infer) and well worth a look at if you’re into your rock art!

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way: A Prehistory of Mid-Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1946.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Snowden Carr CR-579

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Snowden Carr CR-579 53.954854, -1.730269 Snowden Carr CR-579

Snowden Carr Carving (581), Askwith, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 17799 51005

Getting Here

Same direction as for cup-and-ring carving 582 from the Askwith Moor Road parking spot, walk up the road (north) 300 yards until you see the disused quarry on the moor to your right.  From here, head down onto the moor, straight down past the quarry for about 200 yards, angling slightly to your right.  You’ll notice some overgrown ‘lumps’ in the heather — a cairnfield no less! — go just below these and watch out for some rocks emerging from the heather.  This carving (and its neighbours) is on one of ‘em!

Archaeology & History

This impressive carving is one of a number very close to each other, in the ruins of a cairn-field (though there’s some debate as to whether it’s medieval, prehistoric, or just quarry-spoil).  Peppered with many cups on the upper surface of the stone, we also have carved lines and cup-marks along the east-facing edge of the rock aswell.  I think it was Eric Cowling (1937) who was the first person to describe this stone (where he listed it as stone no.10 in his Otley survey), saying:

Snowden Carr carving no.581

“On the rise above No.9 is a cope-shaped boulder which is almost covered with cup markings and winding grooves.  One broad groove winds from the ridge, rising from a cup, and is continued to the margin.  Two cups are linked by a curve which is continued to the same edge.  The eastern side of the stone is almost upright and bears two cups with grooves running to ground level.”

Due to the similarities in design on this stone and that of carving no.618 in Fewston valley bottom a half-mile away, Cowling thought that it likely that the same person did both carvings.  Well….y’ never know!

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Cowling, Eric T., “Cup and Ring Markings to the North of Otley,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, part 131, 33:3, 1937.
  3. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way: A Prehistory of Mid-Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1946.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Snowden Carr CR-581

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Snowden Carr CR-581 53.954836, -1.730254 Snowden Carr CR-581

Snowden Carr Carving (582), Askwith, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 17803 51012

Getting Here

Not too difficult to locate if you don’t mind wandering to and fro in deep heather.  From the Askwith Moor Road parking spot, walk up the road (north) 300 yards until you see the disused quarry on the moor to your right.  From here, head onto the moor, straight down past the quarry for about 200 yards, angling slightly to your right.  You’ll notice some overgrown ‘lumps’ in the heather — deemed as a cairnfield by archaeologists — go just below these and watch out for some rocks emerging from the heather.  This carving (and its neighbours) is on one of ’em!

Archaeology & History

This curiously-shaped large rock has several worn cup-and-rings on its upper surface, with several cup-marks aswell.  Two deeply etched lines running down the edge of the rock have also been pecked away as part of the carving, in contrast to the distinguishing natural water-worn line that runs diagonally along and down to the bottom of the stone.

The site was first described by Eric Cowling (1937), who labelled it as Carving no.9 in his survey, saying:

Carving 582, looking SW
Carving from above

“At the eastern and lower end of the barrow group on Snowden Carr is a cluster of angular boulders, one of which has several markings cut on the upper surface.  There is a cup and ring on the highest, and alongside two rings are joined together and enclose separate cups. One corner of the area is isolated by a groove running from edge to edge, and within this enclosure are three cups.”

Catalogued as ‘stone 582’ in Boughey & Vickerman’s (2003) survey, their description of the carving was one with “fourteen possible cups, several with indications of a ring, some of which intersect; grooves.”

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Cowling, Eric T., “Cup and Ring Markings to the North of Otley,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, part 131, 33:3, 1937.
  3. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way: A Prehistory of Mid-Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1946.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Snowden Carr CR-582

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Snowden Carr CR-582 53.954899, -1.730193 Snowden Carr CR-582

Hagg Woods, Thongsbridge, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire

Cairns:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1493 1026

Getting Here

Take the A6024 road south out of Huddersfield for about 4 miles, past the turnings to Honley, and when you reach a section where the road runs through a nice bitta woodland, stop! Go into the woods on the western side of the road near the bottom end where a footpath runs up to Haggs Farm. The cairnfield is about 100 yards up into the woods, evidenced by small overgrown heaps in a small cluster.  Good luck!

Archaeology & History

These are pretty difficult to locate even when the vegetation isn’t covering them!  But if you’re diligent and enjoy a good foray in searching for archaeological remains, you might uncover summat.  For here are the scattered remains of what was once a group of seven cairns with adjacent ring-banks, last excavated in the early 1960s by Neil Lunn and other members of the Huddersfield & District Archaeology Society.  Little by way of datable material was found, although one of them did “reveal features typical of some Bronze Age barrows.” Beneath this one they found “the remains of a hut or shelter with a succession of small hearths and a group of stone-packed postholes.”

It would be nice to find out the precise status of this area as few other remains seem in evidence, which can’t be right surely?

References:

  1. Barnes, B., Man and the Changing Landscape, University of Liverpool 1982.
  2. Lunn, N., ‘Account of Recent Fieldwork in the Honley Area,’ Hudds Dist. Archaeo. Soc., 13, 1963.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Hagg Wood cairnfield

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Hagg Wood cairnfield 53.588713, -1.775930 Hagg Wood cairnfield