Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield on Standingstones Rigg, including a cup and ring marked rock 780m and 800m north west of Linglands Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Cloughton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3579 / 54°21'28"N

Longitude: -0.4927 / 0°29'33"W

OS Eastings: 498050.746762

OS Northings: 496866.788058

OS Grid: SE980968

Mapcode National: GBR TL01.4L

Mapcode Global: WHGBL.DQMJ

Entry Name: Cairnfield on Standingstones Rigg, including a cup and ring marked rock 780m and 800m north west of Linglands Farm

Scheduled Date: 5 December 1928

Last Amended: 11 October 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019799

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34675

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Cloughton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Hackness with Harwood Dale

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a cairnfield which is situated on a gentle south west
facing slope, on the Moor Gritstones towards the eastern edge of the North
York Moors. Also included is a cup and ring marked rock.
The cairnfield consists of at least 41 cairns distributed between the 170m and
200m contours. Originally, there were at least 64 cairns, but a number have
been destroyed by deep furrow ploughing and related forestry activities,
largely in the northern part of the cairnfield. The surviving cairns lie in
two areas: a group of seven towards the north eastern limit of the cairnfield
and the remainder in a larger group in the southern part of the cairnfield.
The monument therefore lies in two areas of protection.
The cairns are generally sub-circular mounds constructed from small and medium
sized stones, although there are one or two which are more elongated in shape.
Those in the southern part of the cairnfield are more prominent and well
defined. Some incorporate large erratic boulders. Most cairns are between
3m and 6m in diameter, although there are a few both smaller and larger. They
stand between 0.3m and 0.6m high. The majority are field clearance cairns
which are the result of clearing the ground to improve it for agriculture, but
some of the larger cairns were also used as burial mounds. Interspersed
between the cairns, especially towards the southern end of the cairnfield,
there are occasional traces of walling. These are interpreted as part of the
field system which was in use with the clearance cairns.
At the northern edge of the southern area there is a cup and ring marked rock.
The rock is horizontal and measures 0.9m by 0.4m, oriented east to west. It
stands 0.2m above the modern ground surface. On the upper face there is a
shallow cup mark surrounded by three concentric rings. A shallow groove runs
to the east from the outer ring to a second cup mark. The rock has been
disturbed from its original position by forestry ploughing.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one
another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone
cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture,
and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without
excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC),
although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance
which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze
Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size,
content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the
development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the
prehistoric period.

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
symbols. 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 into 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 normally
will be identified as nationally important.
Despite some disturbance from forestry activities the cairnfield on
Standingstones Rigg, including a cup and ring marked rock 780m and 800m north
east of Linglands Farm has survived well and will preserve significant
information about its form and development. Evidence for the nature of Bronze
Age agriculture will survive in the old ground surface between the cairns and
evidence for earlier land use will be preserved beneath the cairns. Despite
disturbance and a little weathering of the decoration, the cup and ring marked
rock has also survived well. Its inclusion within the cairnfield will provide
evidence for the relationship between agricultural and ritual activity in the
prehistoric period.
The cairnfield is situated within an area which includes many other
prehistoric monuments. Associations such as this offer important scope for the
study of the distribution of prehistoric activity across the landscape for
social, ritual and agricultural purposes.

Source: Historic England


Title: 2nd Edition 25" Ordnance Survey sheet 62/10
Source Date: 1928

Title: Forestry Commission Areas North York Moors Archaeological Survey
Source Date: 1992
Site 5.20 and related numbers

Source: Historic England

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