Ancient Monuments

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Carved rock and cairn in Rowley Intake, 410m south east of Cowclose House, Barningham Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Barningham, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.4792 / 54°28'45"N

Longitude: -1.8983 / 1°53'53"W

OS Eastings: 406686.974184

OS Northings: 509319.365034

OS Grid: NZ066093

Mapcode National: GBR HJ5N.T3

Mapcode Global: WHB4S.TP71

Entry Name: Carved rock and cairn in Rowley Intake, 410m south east of Cowclose House, Barningham Moor

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017422

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30488

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Barningham

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Barningham St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes a carved rock and a cairn. It is situated on a prominent
knoll in Rowley Intake south east of Cowclose House. The carved rock lies
approximately 18m north of the cairn, and measures 0.8m by 0.5m by 0.25m. The
carving consists of one cup mark. The cairn is 6m in diameter and 0.4m high.
It is composed of sandstone rubble, and is covered in heather.

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.

Funerary cairns date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed
as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These burials may be
placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. Cairns are
often a major visual element in the landscape, as they frequently occupy
prominent positions. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands.
Their considerable variation in form, and longevity as a monument type,
provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social
organisation amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly
representative of their period, and a substantial proportion of surviving
examples are considered worthy of protection.
The carved rock and cairn 410m south east of Cowclose House form part of a
wider group of carved rocks and other archaeological features on Barningham
Moor. The carving on the rock survives well and will contribute to studies of
prehistoric rock art in northern England. The cairn survives well and will
also preserve information relating to its relationship with the carved rock.
The features in this area form an important part of the prehistoric landscape
of Barningham Moor, which includes numerous other prehistoric carved rocks and
evidence for prehistoric burials, settlements and the agricultural use of the
land. This site will therefore contribute to studies of such prehistoric
landscapes and the changing patterns of land use over time.

Source: Historic England

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