Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Weetwood Bank cup and ring marked rock, 290m north west of Wooler Post Office Radio Station

A Scheduled Monument in Wooler, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.546 / 55°32'45"N

Longitude: -1.9852 / 1°59'6"W

OS Eastings: 401032.300049

OS Northings: 628031.626788

OS Grid: NU010280

Mapcode National: GBR G4L9.0R

Mapcode Global: WH9ZJ.GVXR

Entry Name: Weetwood Bank cup and ring marked rock, 290m north west of Wooler Post Office Radio Station

Scheduled Date: 20 July 1933

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006559

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 155

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Wooler

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Wooler St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a cup and ring marked rock of later Neolithic/Bronze Age date, situated on open moorland at the top of Weetwood Bank. The rock is south facing and is approximately 3m square with at least 13 cup and ring marks carved into it. At least one of the cups is surrounded by D-shaped rings. The rock also features serpentine grooves. The larger motifs include cups surrounded by four concentric rings with an overall diameter of about 0.4m. The natural irregularities and slope of the rock surface have been incorporated into the rock art design with elements such as natural erosion channels being enhanced and turned into grooves as part of a motif. The rock art was first recognised in 1860.

PastScape Monument No:- 5667
NMR:- NU02NW33
Northumberland HER:- 3310
Northumberland Rock Art (Beckensall Archive):- Coldmartin 1

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Prehistoric rock art is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland, Durham and North and West Yorkshire. 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. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock art have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed in activities such as quarrying. All positively identified prehistoric rock art sites exhibiting a significant group of designs will normally be identified as nationally important.
Weetwood Bank cup and ring marked rock, 290m north west of Wooler Post Office Radio Station, represents an important group of rock art carvings in a typical landscape setting on the border of an upland and lowland zone. The rock art is notable for the manner in which it incorporates the natural shape and irregularities of the rock surface. The monument is a good example of its class and provides insight into prehistoric art and its association with particular landscape settings.

Source: Historic England

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