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Prehistoric rock art in Patterdale 270m north west of Crookabeck

A Scheduled Monument in Patterdale, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5338 / 54°32'1"N

Longitude: -2.9283 / 2°55'41"W

OS Eastings: 340026.827502

OS Northings: 515784.400466

OS Grid: NY400157

Mapcode National: GBR 7JZ0.TK

Mapcode Global: WH81T.Z9QP

Entry Name: Prehistoric rock art in Patterdale 270m north west of Crookabeck

Scheduled Date: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019436

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32873

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Patterdale

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Patterdale St Patrick

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes five closely-spaced examples of prehistoric rock art in
Patterdale. They are all located on a low, tree-covered rock and gravel
outcrop of close-grained igneous rock on low-lying ground a short distance
east of Goldrill Beck 270m north west of Crookabeck. At the south end of the
outcrop, at approximately NY40031576, there is an outcrop sheet of rock lying
roughly east-west which contains two clusters of `cups', ie small circular
hollows in the rock, together with numerous oval hollows and linear grooves
with rounded ends. Close by another outcrop sheet of rock displays cups and
parallel grooves which run to the western edge of the rock, and additionally
there is a curved crack which appears to have been the focus for six cups. On
the top of the ridge, at approximately NY40031578, a panel of exposed rock
slopes gently to the east. This is liberally covered with parallel natural
cracks, cups, ovals, linear grooves with rounded ends, and at least two cup
and ring motifs. On the same rock, but a short distance to the north, there is
a cup with an incomplete angular ring around which are peck marks suggesting
that more rings were intended. Other adjacent features include a linear groove
with rounded ends, some cups and a cup and ring. A few metres to the north is
a small exposed panel of rock on top of the ridge which displays a large
shallow basin with a groove running from it downslope. Flanking this groove
are two small cups. Other carvings include a curved groove and an arrangement
of four cups linked by another curved groove.
At the northern end of the outcrop, at approximately NY40031580, an exposure
of rock contains a dense cluster of cups, ovals, and linear grooves, together
with a long, slightly curving linear groove which runs down the rock and a
small number of isolated cups. Recent limited removal of surface vegetation
has revealed that the extent of the prehistoric rock art here covers a greater
area than initially suspected when these sites were first discovered in 1999.
Further examples are considered to lie below the thin vegetation covering.

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 (c.2800-500 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 prehistoric rock art sites in Patterdale 270m north west of Crookabeck
survive well and display a wide assortment of differing motifs. Limited
removal of surface vegetation has revealed that the extent of these carvings
are greater than originally thought and further examples are considered to lie
beneath the surface vegetation. The monument is one of four recently
discovered prehistoric rock art sites in Patterdale which together will
contribute greatly to further study and understanding of prehistoric rock art
sites in the region.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Prehistoric Rock Art at Crookabeck, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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