Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cup and ring marked rock 630m south west of Brickyard Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Fylingdales, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3973 / 54°23'50"N

Longitude: -0.515 / 0°30'53"W

OS Eastings: 496510.263179

OS Northings: 501222.255425

OS Grid: NZ965012

Mapcode National: GBR SKVL.9G

Mapcode Global: WHGBD.2Q1S

Entry Name: Cup and ring marked rock 630m south west of Brickyard Cottage

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019718

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34398

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Fylingdales

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ravenscar St Hilda

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes an earthfast rock with carvings on its surface. It is
located in open moorland on the eastern edge of Howdale Moor.
This is the easternmost extent of the sandstone, heather covered moor
characteristic of the North York Moors. Today the moor is little used but
archaeological evidence indicates that this has not always been the case. The
prehistoric period in particular saw extensive agricultural use of the area.
It was also then being used for burials and activities associated with the
carving of patterns on exposed rock. Remains of these activities survive
The carvings are on the flat upper face of a low earthfast rock
measuring 3m by 1m. The carving includes a single cup with double ring
encircling it at one end of the rock and a single cup with a triple ring
encircling it at the other end. There is a pecked line crossing the centre of
the rock. This carved rock is one of a cluster of similar monuments
located on the eastern edge of the moor. The group lies in a prominent
position overlooking open moorland with views over several kilometers to the

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 cup and ring marked rock 630m south west of Brickyard Cottage survives
well. Such monuments are rare in the North York Moors and this example is part
of a concentration of similar carved rocks on Howdale Moor. Taken with the
surrounding rock art and other prehistoric sites, the monument offers
important scope for understanding the changing patterns of ritual and social
activities in the area during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bradley, R, Rock Art and the Prehistory of Atlantic Europe, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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