Ancient Monuments

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Cup ring and groove marked rock outcrop at Toby Wall, 260m north east of West Loups's, Cotherstone Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Cotherstone, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5525 / 54°33'9"N

Longitude: -2.0509 / 2°3'3"W

OS Eastings: 396806.144712

OS Northings: 517475.515391

OS Grid: NY968174

Mapcode National: GBR GH3S.ST

Mapcode Global: WHB4B.GTMV

Entry Name: Cup ring and groove marked rock outcrop at Toby Wall, 260m north east of West Loups's, Cotherstone Moor

Scheduled Date: 18 September 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018322

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31782

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Cotherstone

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes an area of rock outcrop with a prehistoric carving, at
Toby Well, Cotherstone. It is one of several areas of exposed rock outcrop on
the north side of Toby Well. This part of the exposed rock outcrop measures 7m
by 3.5m by 1.2m. The main area of carving is approximately 0.5m by 1m and has
nine cups, at least two of them with rings, and there are also two grooves.
The remaining area of this portion of outcrop has at least two further cup

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 this area of outcrop at Toby Well survives well and it is one
of several carved rocks in the area of West and East Loups's. It will
therefore contribute to the study of prehistoric carved rocks.

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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