Deer Track Stone, Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13858 45562

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.190 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no.367 (Boughey & Vickerman)
Carving with Woofa Bank enclosure to rear

Getting Here

The easiest way to find this is to take the same directions to reach the Woofa Bank settlement.  Get your compass out and make sure that you’re at the northern edge of the settlement walling.  From here, walk about 60 yards northwest and keep your eyes peeled for a rock about 2 feet high, curved and elongated with its top surface above the heather.  You’ll find it.

Archaeology & History 

The name I’ve given to this stone is a conjectural one based entirely on comparative petroglyph designs elsewhere in the world.  Or to put it more simply: elsewhere in the world we find examples of prehistoric rock art showing animal tracks and rituals relating to hunting animals, and in the design of this petroglyph on Ilkley Moor I wondered if we might be looking at something similar.  Internationally respected anthropologists, archaeologists, geologists and rock art specialists such as Lawrence Loendorf (2008), Polly Schaafsma (1980), Dennis Slifer (1998) and many others show examples of animal tracks in the US and Mexico (examples exist throughout the world), and it’s not unlikely that some of the petroglyphs in the UK represent such things.  But, like I say, this particular carving may have nowt to do with such a thing and the idea is entirely conjectural on my part and is probably way off the mark.

Deer-print motif & cup

Located less than 60 yards (54m) northwest of the impressive Woof Bank enclosure, it’s possible that the first literary note of this was by Stuart Feather (1968) when he made note of five cup-and-ring marked rocks (which) have been revealed by erosion in 1968,” telling us that some of the motifs on the rocks included cups with and without rings, channels and eye-shaped marks (occuli)— the latter of which may relate to this stone.

A more definite description of the stone was made in John Hedges (1986) survey where he described it in that usual simplistic form, telling us: “Long rock, its surface on two levels, sloping N to S in heather.  Two large oval cups and one cup at N end.  One clear cup at S end.”

Hedges’ 1986 sketch

It is these two elongated cups that have the distinct appearance of deer tracks. (another animal with a similar footprint is the goat)  The cup-mark in front of them and the one at the back of the rock may be something relative to the animal.  But more important than this is to recognise that, in lots of cultures, animal tracks are represented in some petroglyphs.  That’s more important to think about when you look at British rock art, than the improbability of this design being such a thing…

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
  2. Feather, Stuart, “West Yorkshire Archaeological Register – Ilkley (WR) Green Crag Slack,” in Yorkshire Archaeology Journal, volume 42, 1968.
  3. Hedges, John, The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
  4. Loendorf, Lawrence L., Thunder and Herds – Rock Art of the High Plains, Left Coast: Walnut Creek 2008.
  5. Schaafsma, Polly, Indian Rock Art of the Southwest, University of New Mexico Press 1980.
  6. Slifer, Dennis, Signs of Life – Rock Art of the Upper Rio Grande, Ancient City: New Mexico 1998.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  53.906033, -1.790559 Deer Track Stone

Montalt, Dunning, Perthshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NO 06 13

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 26675
  2. Mount Alt Farm

Archaeology & History

Montalt’s curious cup-marked stone

This is a curious stone and may not be the type of ‘cup-marked’ rock we’re used to.  Maybe… It is presently housed in Stirling’s Smith Art Gallery & Museum, where a small note tells that is was originally found “on the top of the Ochils, near Mount Alt Farm, Path of Condie in 1893.”  The stone was found at the same time, and adjacent to, a prehistoric collared urn—which implies it had an association with a cairn or cist, or burial site of some sort (which isn’t uncommon).  However, the exact location of its original whereabouts has been forgotten.

Broken off from a larger piece of stone, the remaining piece of rock has six cup-markings cut into it, between one and three inches across.  The smallest cup is what we might call a ‘normal’ size, but the rest of them get increasingly large and may have been more functional than purely mythic in nature.  In a small note attached to the stone in the Museum, they add the interesting note that,

“There are…indications that in some places they may be related to transhumance: the practice of moving sheep, cattle and goats to higher pastures in the summer, where they may have been used to mark routes or sources of water.”

They may indeed – amongst a variety of other things too.  But the suggested relationship with cattle occurs in stones found near Haworth, West Yorkshire, where large man-affected carved ‘cups’ such as the ones here, were known to be filled with milk at specific times of Nature’s calendrical rhythms, for the spirits of the place to give good fortune to the farmer and local people.  We know of one instance where this practice still occurs and goes back generations in the same family.  Examples of this animistic practice have also been found in the Scottish Highlands.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Montalt CR

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Montalt CR 56.299723, -3.528439 Montalt CR

Over Glenny (04), Port of Menteith, Stirlingshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone: OS Grid Reference — NN 56991 02834

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 352014

Getting Here

Over Glenny (4) C&R

Along the A81 road from Port of Menteith to Aberfoyle, watch out for the small road in the trees running at an angle sharply uphill, nearly opposite Portend, up to Coldon and higher. Keep going, bearing right past Mondowie and stopping at the dirt-track 100 yards or so further up on the left. Walk up this dirt-track for ⅔ mile, and just before reaching the planted forestry, turn right along another dirt-track. Less than 200 yards along there’s a large sycamore tree, and about 20 yards below it (south) are several open flat rock surfaces.  This is the most westerly of them.

Archaeology & History

…and again

On this small smooth rock surface we find an almost archetypal cup-and-ring stone, whose design consists of a double cup-and-ring and a faint cup-and-ring. The double-ring has several seemingly natural small fissures in the rock running at various angles into the central cup from the outside; and there are two faint ones running from the double-rings outwards to the cup-mark in the single-ring, framing the central cupmark in the middle. It may have been that these scratches on the rock gave rise to the position of the cupmark in this petroglyph.  It’s difficult to see whether or not the single cup-and-ring was ever completed.

Canmore’s description of this petroglyph tells simply: “The larger of the two is 180mm in diameter and has two rings around a cup that is 70mm in diameter and 15mm deep. The smaller has one ring around a cup.”

References:

  1. Brouwer, Jan & van Veen, Gus, Rock Art in the Menteith Hills, BRAC 2009.
  2. Sorowka, P., Davenport, C., & Fairclough, J., “Stirling, Over Glenny,” in Discovery & Excavation, Scotland, vol. 15, 2014.

Acknowledgements:  Massive thanks to Paul Hornby, Lisa Samson & Fraser Harrick for all their help on the day of this visit.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  56.196563, -4.306437 Over Glenny (4)

Over Glenny (05), Port of Menteith, Stirlingshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid — NN 56993 02835

Getting Here

‘Over Glenny 5’ Carving

Along the A81 road from Port of Menteith to Aberfoyle, watch out for the small road in the trees running at an angle sharply uphill, nearly opposite Portend, up to Coldon and higher. Keep going, bearing right past Mondowie and stopping at the dirt-track 100 yards or so further up on the left.  Walk up this dirt-track for ⅔ mile, and just before reaching the planted forestry, turn right along another dirt-track.  Less than 200 yards along there’s a large sycamore tree, and about 20 yards below it (south) is the carving you’re looking for.

Archaeology & History

It’s difficult keeping up with the carvings in this region to the north of the Lake of Menteith, as we find new unrecorded ones on every visit, maintaining the tradition of fellow rock art students Maarten van Hoek, Kaledon Naddair, George Currie, Jan Broewer and the rest—and we know that there’s more of them hidden away.  This one doesn’t seem to be in the Canmore listings, but I put that down to the fact that they’ve got a grid-references wrong somewhere, as it’s pretty plain to see.  Although, to be honest, in the rather vague descriptions of the adjacent carvings (Over Glenny 4 and 6), this carving is in-between them, so you’d expect it to be listed.  Anyway, that aside…

Looking down at the rings
Close-up of faint rings

This long flat exposed rock surface has two primary cup-and-rings upon it: one cup with a double-ring, and the other standard cup-and-ring; there are also two single cup-markings on the stone: one near the middle of the rock and the other on its lower-right side.  The main element is the double-cup-and-ring, which appears to be incomplete—not only in terms of its design, but also, as you can see in the photos, seems unfinished. From the central double-ring, a faint carved line runs out from the centre and into the other faint, incomplete, single cup-and-ring.

Series of metal-sharpening grooves
Arty-farty sketch of the design

At the bottom of the stone (as with several others hereby) a curious set of deep scars have been cut into the edge of the rock.  They’re unmistakable when you see them.  They have probably been created by metal artifacts being sharpened along the bottom of the rock—many many times by the look of it.  These deep cuts reminded me of the more famous Polisher Stone, down Avebury-way.  They may be explained by the fact that, several centuries ago, a battle occurred here and some of the men gathered in the area before the attack.  It would seem as if this and the other cup-and-ring stones were used to sharpen their blades before going into battle.  Whether this was done because of some local lore which imbued these stones with some sort of magick, we do not know.  Folklore here seems curiously scarce (english incomers destroyed local traditions, as writers were telling us in the 19th century), apart from the well-known one of the area being rife with fairies: Robert Kirk’s famous The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Faeries (1691) was written three miles west of here, at Aberfoyle.

References:

  1. Brouwer, Jan & van Veen, Gus, Rock Art in the Menteith Hills, BRAC 2009.

Acknowledgements:  Massive thanks to the rest of the crew: Paul Hornby, Lisa Samson & Fraser Harrick.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  56.196565, -4.306399 Over Glenny (5)

Cock Lakes, Blubberhouses Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1524 5469

Getting Here

Faint cups highlighted by water

Follow the same directions as if you’re visiting the James Stone monolith.  From here, walk about 60 yards southeast and zigzag about in the heather until you find a small squarish-shaped earthfast rock, barely 6 inches above ground-level (might be hard to find when the heather’s fully grown).  If you’ve got a petroglyphic nose, you’ll find it!

Archaeology & History

A simple faded cup-marked stone, roughly 2½ feet by 2 feet across, can be found about 65 feet southeast of the James Stone and 40 yards west of the Benty Gate prehistoric enclosure.  Sadly when we visited the place a few days ago, the sky was grey and the conditions for good photos were poor.

Line of faint cups from centre
Extra faint cup near centre left

At least five cup-marks have been etched onto the stone, with the main element being a row a three cups in a straight line from the centre of the stone to its SE edge.  The central cup-mark has been carved where a natural crack in the rock, running from the edge of the stone, terminates.  There also seemed to be a carved faded line running along the bottom edge of the stone—but it was unclear and another visit is needed in better light to see if there’s more on the stone.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Cock Lakes CR

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Cock Lakes CR 53.988036, -1.769067 Cock Lakes CR

Grey Stone, Newsholme Dean, Oakworth, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 00621 40841

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.2 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Grey Stone, Newsholme Dean
Grey Stone, Newsholme Dean

Take the same directions as if you’re visiting the Cob Stone Field carving; but instead of going into the field on your right, walk down the track about 100 yards towards the large barn below.  As you walk down keep your eyes peeled to the field on your left and, right up against the wall of the barn, you’ll see a large boulder resting quietly. That’s what yer after!

Archaeology & History

This large faded cup-marked rock whose western side has been split off in recent years, has a scatter of “up to 21 small shallow worn cups” on its upper surface.  They can be difficult to see in some light, but they’re definitely there (as Ray Spencer’s photos clearly show), fading slowly into Nature’s winds and storms.  A couple of ‘lines’ running down the edge of the stone are  due to modern farm-workings.

Close-up of the cups
Close-up of the cups
Sketch of the design
Sketch of the design

Several other rocks in this and adjacent fields have what may be faded remains of other cup-markings, but without guidance from a geologist or a stone-mason, we can’t know for sure whether they’re authentic or not.  It’s likely that there are other authentic carvings hiding in this area—they just need sniffing out!

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, West Yorkshire Archaeology Service 2003.

Acknowledgements:  Huge thanks to Ray Spencer for us of his photos in this site profile. Thanks Ray.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Grey Stone CR

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Grey Stone CR 53.863786, -1.992041 Grey Stone CR