Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cup and groove marked rock 590m north of Brier Dykes, Baldersdale

A Scheduled Monument in Hunderthwaite, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5772 / 54°34'37"N

Longitude: -2.0765 / 2°4'35"W

OS Eastings: 395152.1511

OS Northings: 520221.201611

OS Grid: NY951202

Mapcode National: GBR FHYH.7Z

Mapcode Global: WHB4B.26GX

Entry Name: Cup and groove marked rock 590m north of Brier Dykes, Baldersdale

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016592

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32095

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Hunderthwaite

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes a prehistoric carved rock on the north side of
Baldersdale. It is situated on the top of a ridge 590m north of Brier Dykes.
The rock is level with the ground on the north side and is partly covered by
turf. The visible part measures 1.3m by 0.56m. The rock has been quarried on
its south and east sides, and the quarried face is 0.3m high. The carving
consists of a large number of cups. On the south east edge a groove partly
encloses several cups; this groove has been partly quarried away. The carving
is slightly obscured by turf on the north side.

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'. 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 (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
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.

The carving on the rock 590m north of Brier Dykes survives well and it is one
of several carved rocks on the north side of Baldersdale. It will contribute
to the study of prehistoric carved rocks in Britain.

Source: Historic England


Beckensall, S and Laurie, T , Prehistoric Rock Art of County Durham Swaledale and Wensleydale, forthcoming

Source: Historic England

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