Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric rock art 190m south west of Middleton Dean promontory fort

A Scheduled Monument in Ilderton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.49 / 55°29'23"N

Longitude: -2.0071 / 2°0'25"W

OS Eastings: 399645.78

OS Northings: 621794.26

OS Grid: NT996217

Mapcode National: GBR G4FY.8T

Mapcode Global: WH9ZX.48HN

Entry Name: Prehistoric rock art 190m south west of Middleton Dean promontory fort

Scheduled Date: 7 April 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1417675

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Ilderton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Ilderton St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


A rock art panel bearing a large number of cup motifs, some with rings, arcs and linear grooves of Neolithic/early Bronze Age date.

Source: Historic England


The panel (ERA 216) is located on a high, level promontory formed by the confluence of the Middleton Dene Burn and the Lilburn Burn. This area lies to the west of the Fell Sandstone areas (where most of the prehistoric rock art in Northumberland is located) in the igneous rocks of the Cheviot Hills. The panel is formed by a sandstone boulder oriented north to south and which measures 1.9m by 1.2m. The eastern side of the boulder has at least twelve cups, one cup and ring, one cup and arc and three cups with grooves; all of these motifs are heavily pecked and lie beneath turf cover. The top and the western side of the panel bears about twenty deep cups with deep grooves; some of the grooves may be natural in origin but may have been artificially enhanced.

Extent of scheduling: this is defined as a circle with a diameter of 5m in order to include a sample of the archaeologically sensitive surrounding ground.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The prehistoric rock art 190m south west of Middleton Dean promontory fort is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: despite susceptibility to natural weathering, it is reasonably well preserved with the survival of large numbers of well-defined motifs;
* 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: while a small number of motifs display associated rings, arcs or grooves, the majority of motifs are simple cups; the focus on this individual motif at the expense of a wider variety of motifs contributes to its importance;
* Potential: it will inform our knowledge of prehistoric society through individual study of its motifs and carving style, and through an increased understanding of the circumstances in which rock art was created and used;
* Rarity: this panel occupies an unusual location situated within the igneous rocks of the Cheviot Hills and enhances its importance;
* Group value: taken together with a number of other scheduled Bronze Age monuments in the vicinity, it will enhance our understanding of Bronze Age ritual and funerary practice.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Mazel, et al (eds), Art as Metaphor: The Prehistoric Rock-Art of Britain, (2007)
England's Rock Art, accessed from

Source: Historic England

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