Ancient Monuments

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Carved rock and prehistoric enclosure on west side of Scale Knoll Gill, 410m south west of Haythwaite, Barningham Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Barningham, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.4746 / 54°28'28"N

Longitude: -1.917 / 1°55'1"W

OS Eastings: 405475.304801

OS Northings: 508810.904346

OS Grid: NZ054088

Mapcode National: GBR HJ1P.SR

Mapcode Global: WHB4S.JSCK

Entry Name: Carved rock and prehistoric enclosure on west side of Scale Knoll Gill, 410m south west of Haythwaite, Barningham Moor

Scheduled Date: 24 November 1977

Last Amended: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017440

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30478

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 sandstone rock, 1.2m by 0.6m by 0.85m, and an
associated rubble banked enclosure. It is situated on Barningham Moor, on the
west side of Scale Knoll Gill, 410m south west of Haythwaite.
The carved rock has been incorporated into the boulder walling of the
enclosure at a later date and is therefore not in situ. The carving is
on the east vertical face of the rock, and consists of a cup with four rings,
a long groove from this cup, seven other cups with a branching groove from two
of them, two other descending grooves, and two possible cups.
The subrectangular enclosure is considered to be prehistoric in date and is
interpreted as an agricultural enclosure used for controlling stock. It
measures 23m by 83m and is composed of boulder walling and rubble banks. The
rubble banks are 2m-3m wide, and up to 0.5m high. A boulder wall subdividing
the enclosure incorporates the carved rock. The carving on the rock faces
into the wall, suggesting that the walling is later than the carving. The
enclosure walls show signs of stone-robbing, but a significant proportion
survives. The north side of the enclosure is bounded by a small water course,
and the east side by the top of the slope down into Scale Knoll Gill.

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.

In the uplands of northern England a wide variety of prehistoric enclosures
can be found. These range from relatively large, rectangular enclosures with
earth and stone banks, to smaller, irregular areas enclosed by rubble and
boulder walls. Most are dated to the Bronze Age, Iron Age, or early
Romano-British period (2000 BC-200 AD). The larger regular enclosures tend to
be dated towards the later part of this period and the smaller, irregular
enclosures towards the beginning. Their variation in form, longevity, and
relationship to other monument classes provides important information on the
diversity of social organisation and land use among prehistoric communities.
The carving on the rock survives well and displays a complex range of motifs
not normally found in this area. Its relationship with the later enclosure
wall may provide evidence for the later agricultural use of earlier sacred
sites. Together, the carved rock and enclosure 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


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 30
Laurie, T, 'Archaeological Newsbulletin Series 2' in Archaeological Newsbulletin CBA Regional Group Three, (1977), 12-13
Laurie, T, 'Archaeological Newsbulletin Series 2' in Archaeological Newsbulletin CBA Regional Group Three, (1977), 13

Source: Historic England

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