Ancient Monuments

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Cup and ring marked rock and adjacent stone setting, 820m east of Whittondean Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Whitton and Tosson, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.2951 / 55°17'42"N

Longitude: -1.9031 / 1°54'11"W

OS Eastings: 406252.030733

OS Northings: 600114.061833

OS Grid: NU062001

Mapcode National: GBR H746.SN

Mapcode Global: WHB0X.Q5ZJ

Entry Name: Cup and ring marked rock and adjacent stone setting, 820m east of Whittondean Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011293

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20885

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Whitton and Tosson

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a large, flat rock outcrop bearing cup and ring markings
of Neolithic/Bronze Age date and a line of upright stones situated on a north-
eastern slope 200m above Whitton Burn. There is a variety of different-sized
cupmarks, many measuring 15cm or more, but only two cups which clearly have
surrounding ring marks. Several large, shallow basins are visible and, as
usual in this area, there is a preponderance of long, wavy channels, some 3m
long, running the length of the outcrop; some of the channels apparently issue
from the shallow basins. To the east of the cupmarked rock there is a rough
line of stones running from north-west to south-east; two of the stones which
form this line have cupmarks visible on their surface. The stone field wall
and the fence which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling but
the ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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'. 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 (2800-c.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.

This example includes a large number of designs of various types. Unusually,
an adjacent linear setting of stones survives next to the rock, indicating
that activities were also taking place around the decorated rock.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Newbigin, E R, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 4' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 4, (1930), 66-67
Newbigin, E R, 'Proc Soc Antiq Newcastle 4 ser 5 1931 - 32' in Note on Bronze Age cist at Whitton Farm, Rothbury, (1932), 241-2

Source: Historic England

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