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Prehistoric rock art, 92m south west of Buttony

A Scheduled Monument in Chatton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.573 / 55°34'22"N

Longitude: -1.9741 / 1°58'26"W

OS Eastings: 401731.200903

OS Northings: 631038.97285

OS Grid: NU017310

Mapcode National: GBR G4N0.D1

Mapcode Global: WH9ZJ.N55Z

Entry Name: Prehistoric rock art, 92m south west of Buttony

Scheduled Date: 6 March 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1417674

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Chatton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Chatton with Chillingham

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


Six prehistoric rock art panels situated on a 50m length of quarried sandstone crag.

Source: Historic England


Principal elements: six prehistoric rock art panels carved onto a 50m length of quarried sandstone crag.

Description: the crag bearing these panels is situated at the top of a scarp slope leading down to the valley of the River Till. The crag runs in a south west to north east direction and leads into an adjacent scheduled hillfort (National Heritage List Entry no.1006531). The six panels, which are contained within four separate areas of scheduling, are described individually below from north east to south west.

The first panel is roughly square and has at least four separate motifs on two levels (ERA 78). On the steep south-east slope there is a cup surrounded by three complete rings with a groove aligned down the slope and traces of a fourth ring. To the north are two motifs of keyhole form containing a single cup and six cups respectively. The fourth motif situated to the north east is a rare rosette motif comprising an inner circle around a central cup, itself the centre of four smaller cups, the whole surrounded by five penannulars. In addition there are several small cups and possible peck marks.

Some 20m to the SSE and forming a small group are three further panels. One of these (ERA 80) bears a distinct pair of adjacent cup and ring motifs, both with two radial grooves. The left hand motif has seven very distinct complete rings plus an outer incomplete penannular which terminates near its intersection with the radial grooves. The right hand motif also has seven distinct and complete rings but its two radial grooves are orientated differently, and there is faint third radial groove in the right hand motif. The bottom halves of both motifs are partially buried. At the top of the panel there is a symmetrical domino pattern of six cups and a random cluster of three large cups. The adjacent panel (ERA 79) has two complex and large motifs; the first and most southerly is situated on a triangular projection, the apex of which is occupied by a number of cups of varying size; to the right is a rosette motif with four discernible cups at the centre surrounded by seven broken rings with a faint radial groove. To the north there is a cup and ring motif with five complete rings, cut across its diameter by a groove; this groove extends into a serpentine groove arching clockwise to one side of the motif and forms a rectangular loop to the other. There are nine cups below this motif. To the south west there is a simple cup and penannular and three or four cups. The third panel in this cluster (ERA 82) has at least seven motifs and five single cups; the motifs are mostly cups with multiple rings and cups with grooves and penannulars.

About 10m WSW, lies the fifth panel (ERA 84), which contains the remains of at least four large motifs each comprising a cup surrounded by multiple rings with grooves carved on the steep (60 degrees to horizontal) quarried face at the south west end of the crag. They form a frieze extending over about 2m of the face. Most of the connecting serpentine groove identified by Beckensall, and the lower parts of the larger motifs, have become buried. The two outside motifs are particularly well-defined measuring about 30cm in diameter displaying clear peck marks and the two inner motifs are smaller and less well defined measuring about 10cm to 15cm across.

The final and sixth panel (ERA 83) lies 13m south west of the fifth and comprises a single large motif situated on the outcropping top surface of the crag; it has a cup and six rings about 50cm in diameter with a radial groove extending beyond the rings.

Extent of scheduling: panels one, five and six are each contained with a 5m diameter circle and panels two, three and four are all contained within a single 10m diameter circle. All of the areas include a margin of 2m. Further panels are likely to remain upon the unexposed parts of the outcrop but have yet to be identified.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The prehistoric rock art at Buttony is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: the rock art panels are reasonably well preserved and retain their spatial relationships to one another and to the wider landscape in which they are situated;
* Documentation: ritual and religious sites of Prehistoric Britain are without contemporary documentation and hence the value of the archaeological remains as our only evidence of their belief systems is enhanced;
* Diversity: a wide variety of motifs is represented ranging from the relatively common cups and rings to the more unusual individual motifs and complex arrangements including those bearing radial grooves and those of rare rosette form;
* Potential: these survivals will contribute to our knowledge of prehistoric society through study of the panels and their individual motifs and through an increased understanding of the circumstances in which rock art was created and used.
* Group value: taken as a group, they will enhance both our understanding of the inter-relationships between individual panels, and their relationship to the wider landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Prehistoric Rock Motifs of Northumberland Volume 1, (1991), 22, 30-32
Beckensall, S, Northumberland's Prehistoric Rock Carvings: A Mystery Explained , (1983)
Mazel, et al (eds), Art as Metaphor: The Prehistoric Rock-Art of Britain, (2007), 231-256
Van Hoek, M A M , 'Glasgow Archaeological Journal' in The Rosette in British and Irish Rock Art, (1989)
, accessed from
Northumberland HER ID: 3814;3889;3890,

Source: Historic England

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