Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Four carved rocks on Blake Hill, 520m NNW of Hill Gill Farm, Baldersdale

A Scheduled Monument in Mickleton, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5766 / 54°34'35"N

Longitude: -2.0988 / 2°5'55"W

OS Eastings: 393707.293018

OS Northings: 520157.896594

OS Grid: NY937201

Mapcode National: GBR FHSJ.D6

Mapcode Global: WHB49.Q7RB

Entry Name: Four carved rocks on Blake Hill, 520m NNW of Hill Gill Farm, Baldersdale

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016613

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32092

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Mickleton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes four prehistoric carved rocks on the south brow of Blake
Hill in Baldersdale, 520m NNW of Hill Gill Farm.
The complexity of the carvings varies; one rock has only one cup, another has
several cups, some with rings, and another rock has at least ten cups, two of
them joined by grooves. Three of the rocks are well embedded in the ground,
with fairly level carved surfaces protruding just 0.15m. The fourth rock, near
the centre of the group, is more upright, with a triangular profile. A
collection of stones at the base of this rock suggests that it may once have
formed part of a small cairn, now almost totally robbed for walling stone.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 carvings on the four rocks on Blake Hill survive well and form an
important part of the prehistoric landscape on the north side of Baldersdale,
which includes other prehistoric carved rocks and evidence of prehistoric land
use and settlement.

Source: Historic England


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

Source: Historic England

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