Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Rock art at Rocky Valley, 150m north of Trevillett Mill

A Scheduled Monument in Tintagel, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.6719 / 50°40'18"N

Longitude: -4.7288 / 4°43'43"W

OS Eastings: 207278.773

OS Northings: 89352.2002

OS Grid: SX072893

Mapcode National: GBR N2.734F

Mapcode Global: FRA 07Z9.HJT

Entry Name: Rock art at Rocky Valley, 150m north of Trevillett Mill

Scheduled Date: 12 November 1958

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004620

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 553

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Tintagel

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Tintagel

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes two examples of rock art, carved into a vertical rock face behind a ruined mill building on the eastern side of a steep sided coastal valley known as Rocky Valley. The rock art survives as two similar carvings of circular spiral labyrinths, carved in the natural rock face. Both measure approximately 0.2m in diameter. The carvings were rediscovered in 1948 and first published in 1954, although both were well-known locally to antiquarians in the 19th century. When examined by Raleigh Radford in 1955, they were interpreted as being prehistoric and attributed to the Bronze Age (c. 1800 - 1400 BC) on the basis of their similarity in design to widespread examples throughout Europe. However, such labyrinths are not exclusively prehistoric, and they became popular in Christian symbolism during the medieval period and later were used in secular contexts.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-431934

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Prehistoric rock art is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of upland Britain. 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 (c.2800-500 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 in burial mounds. The rock art in Rocky Valley is not of the classic cup and ring mark type, but is known across the Atlantic seaboard, although the style of the carving may suggest a more recent origin. Whatever their date, the carvings remain somewhat enigmatic and are unique in Cornwall.

Source: Historic England

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