Ancient Monuments

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Carved rocks in Stobgreen Plantation

A Scheduled Monument in Eggleston, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.611 / 54°36'39"N

Longitude: -1.9902 / 1°59'24"W

OS Eastings: 400729.162

OS Northings: 523985.8347

OS Grid: NZ007239

Mapcode National: GBR GHJ3.XV

Mapcode Global: WHB45.DCJG

Entry Name: Carved rocks in Stobgreen Plantation

Scheduled Date: 22 December 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021115

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35957

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Eggleston

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Eggleston

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument includes four carved rocks in Stobgreen Plantation. A further
group of at least seven carved rocks lie to the south east at Bracken
Heads. These are the subject of a separate scheduling.

The easternmost of the four carved rocks in the plantation lies near the
east edge of the plantation at NZ01292349. It is 370m north east of Folly
House near the top of a ridge on the east side of an old stone quarry. The
visible portion of the rock is about 2m long and 1m wide, and stands about
0.5m high. The carving consists of three cup marks with rings, at least
nine further cup marks and several grooves. These carvings occur on the
top and the sloping north side of the rock.

A second carved rock at NZ00932355, 220m north of Folly House lies at the
edge of the trees, about 60m north east of a wall junction along a
drystone wall at the edge of the plantation. The rock is partly covered by
turf. The visible portion which forms most of the top surface of the rock
is approximately 1m by 1.2m and is level with the ground. The carving
consists of a single cup mark.

The third carved rock is at NZ00722398, approximately 500m north east of
Gate House, in a slope between two forestry tracks. It lies about 4m north
of the lower track, and 19m east of the track junction. The rock measures
approximately 1 sq m and is almost level with the surrounding ground
surface. The carving consists of seventeen cup marks, and four possible
cup marks. The remaining carved rock is a little further north at
NZ00722400, close to the same track junction. It lies on the north side of
the upper track, 23m north east of the track junction. The visible part
measures approximately 0.6m by 0.6m. The carving consists of four cup
marks near the top of the sloping upper surface of the rock.

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 will normally be identified as nationally important.

The carvings on the rocks in Stobgreen Plantation survive well. The carved
rocks exhibit a range of carvings with differing levels of complexity.
They form an important part of the distribution of carved rocks,
cairnfields and prehistoric burials, in the plantations, allotments and
commons north east of Eggleston, and form part of the wider prehistoric
landscape of the North Pennines. They will therefore contribute to studies
of such prehistoric landscapes and the changing patterns of land use over

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Laurie, T, Prehistoric Rock Art in County Durham, Swaledale and Wensleydale, (1998), 86
Brown, P, Carved Rocks in Stob Green Plantation,

Source: Historic England

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