Ancient Monuments

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Enclosed settlement containing three carved rocks known as Backstone Beck Enclosure

A Scheduled Monument in Ilkley, Bradford

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Latitude: 53.9116 / 53°54'41"N

Longitude: -1.8061 / 1°48'21"W

OS Eastings: 412833.637871

OS Northings: 446177.896751

OS Grid: SE128461

Mapcode National: GBR HRT6.SK

Mapcode Global: WHC8P.7Y65

Entry Name: Enclosed settlement containing three carved rocks known as Backstone Beck Enclosure

Scheduled Date: 22 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012847

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25334

County: Bradford

Civil Parish: Ilkley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ben Rhydding St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes a rubble-walled enclosed settlement containing three
carved rocks and two possible hut circles. It is situated on a low ridge at
the western end of Green Crag Slack, a short distance east of Backstone Beck.
The enclosed settlement, which was partially excavated by the Ilkley
Archaeology Group (1982-1987), has been partly reconstructed as a low rubble
wall, 1.25m wide and 0.4m high. This reconstruction also includes two small
circular structures, probably hut circles, at the southern end. Where the bank
is undisturbed it has little visible structure and is 1.9m wide and 0.3m high.
The enclosure is incomplete on its western side, and has an area of rough
cobbling near the south east corner.
All three carved rocks are in prominent positions on the ridge and have
complex carvings in the cup-and-ring tradition.

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

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 (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. All
positively identified prehistoric rock carving sites will normally be
identified as nationally important.
This enclosed settlement is well-preserved, and is important evidence of
prehistoric activity on this part of Rombalds Moor.
The carvings on these rocks survive well and they will contribute to an
understanding of the wider grouping of carved rocks on Rombalds Moor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hedges, J D (ed), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, (1986), 46
Hedges, J D (ed), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, (1986), 46
Hedges, J D (ed), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, (1986), 46
Backstone Beck Excavation, Godfrey HW, Summary Report, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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