Ancient Monuments

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Carved rock and associated prehistoric walling above Backstone Beck, 200 WNW of Gill Head Reservoir

A Scheduled Monument in Ilkley, Bradford

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Latitude: 53.9131 / 53°54'47"N

Longitude: -1.8103 / 1°48'37"W

OS Eastings: 412558.703

OS Northings: 446345.7139

OS Grid: SE125463

Mapcode National: GBR HRS6.W0

Mapcode Global: WHC8P.5X70

Entry Name: Carved rock and associated prehistoric walling above Backstone Beck, 200 WNW of Gill Head Reservoir

Scheduled Date: 11 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012834

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25380

County: Bradford

Civil Parish: Ilkley

Built-Up Area: Ilkley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ilkley St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes a carved gritstone rock and associated rubble walling.
They are situated west of Backstone Beck, overlooking the beck.
The dimensions of the rock are 1.15m x 0.86m x 0.12m.
The carving consists of three cups with rings, five other cups and a wide
The walling is composed of rubble, incorporating only one or two large
boulders. It is typically 2m-3m wide, forming an arc to the immediate west of
the carved rock. An additional fragment of rubble walling, c.5m long, and a
small pile of rubble of c.2m diameter, possibly a cairn, are situated
immediately to the south of the main arc of rubble wall.
The rubble wall disappears into deeper peat at its western end. It may
therefore be more extensive than can be determined from surface examination.
It is probable that it once formed an enclosure similar to those east of
Backstone Beck.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Rombalds Moor is an eastern outlier of the main Pennine range lying between
the valleys of the Wharfe and the Aire. The bulk of this area of 90 sq km of
rough moorland lies over 200m above sea level. The moor is particularly rich
in remains of prehistoric activity. The most numerous relics are the rock
carvings which can be found on many of the boulders and outcrops scattered
across the moor. Burial monuments, stone circles and a range of enclosed
settlements are also known.
Within the landscape of Rombalds Moor are many discrete plots of land enclosed
by stone walls or banks of stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze
Age (c.2000-700 BC), although earlier and later examples may also exist. They
were constructed as protected areas for settlement, stock penning, or crop
growing. They may be subdivided into a series of smaller enclosures; those
used for settlement may retain evidence of the round huts originally located
within them. The size and form of enclosures vary considerably, depending on
their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship
to other monument classes provide important information on the diversity of
social organisation and farming practices among prehistoric communities. They
are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion
of surviving examples are worthy of protection.

Prehistoric rock carving is found on natural boulders and 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' marking, where small cup-like hollows are worked
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. All
positively identified prehistoric rock carvings sites will normally be
identified as nationally important.
The carving on the rock survives well and it will contribute to an
understanding of the wider grouping of carved rocks. Prehistoric walling,
interpreted as the remains of an enclosure, lies immediately adjacent to the
carved rock. Information on the relationship of these remains will be
preserved and they will aslo contribute to an understanding of wider
prehistoric landscapes on Rombalds Moor.

Source: Historic England

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