Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Prehistoric rock art at Green Rigg, 310m north east of Goldrill bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Patterdale, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5363 / 54°32'10"N

Longitude: -2.9286 / 2°55'43"W

OS Eastings: 340009.374357

OS Northings: 516067.71493

OS Grid: NY400160

Mapcode National: GBR 7HZZ.RM

Mapcode Global: WH81T.Z7KQ

Entry Name: Prehistoric rock art at Green Rigg, 310m north east of Goldrill bridge

Scheduled Date: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019437

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32874

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 a prehistoric rock art site located in Patterdale on an
exposure of granite bedrock in the garden of Green Rigg to the south east of
the house. The rock carvings are situated on the upper face of the bedrock
which is angled at about 30 degrees from the horizontal, and consist of
numerous approximately parallel linear grooves of varying length running down
the slope of the rock. These grooves are predominantly located on the northern
half of the rock. Scattered over the entire upper face of the rock are a very
large number of `cup' marks, ie small circular hollows in the rock, ovals
and rectangular hollows with rounded ends. Towards the western end of the
upper surface there is a cup mark surrounded by a ring which has a tail
leading to the western edge of the rock beyond which is a steep drop.

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 at Green Rigg, 310m north east of Goldrill bridge
survives well and is an excellent example of this class of monument. It 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, Green Rigg, Patterdale, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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