Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cup and ring marked rock on Goldsborough Rigg, Cotherstone Moor, 860m south east of Pitcher House

A Scheduled Monument in Cotherstone, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5547 / 54°33'17"N

Longitude: -2.0666 / 2°3'59"W

OS Eastings: 395789.776136

OS Northings: 517723.387496

OS Grid: NY957177

Mapcode National: GBR GH0S.D1

Mapcode Global: WHB4B.7S54

Entry Name: Cup and ring marked rock on Goldsborough Rigg, Cotherstone Moor, 860m south east of Pitcher House

Scheduled Date: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017199

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31794

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Cotherstone

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes a prehistoric carved rock, partly covered by turf. It is
situated on Goldsborough Rigg, about 72m east along the ridge from a large
cup, ring, and groove marked rock which is the subject of a separate
scheduling. The visible part of the rock measures 0.7m by 0.6m by 0.15m high.
The carving consists of six cups, one of which has a narrow ring, and another
of which has a possible ring, and a groove. There are also a number of natural
grooves running across the surface of the rock.

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 860m south east of Pitcher House survives well and it
is one of several carved rocks in the Goldsborough area. It will therefore
contribute to the study of prehistoric carved rocks.

Source: Historic England


Carved rock on Goldsborough Rigg, Brown, P, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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