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Rock art 350m east of The Ringses hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Doddington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.588 / 55°35'16"N

Longitude: -1.9734 / 1°58'24"W

OS Eastings: 401773.2771

OS Northings: 632704.6191

OS Grid: NU017327

Mapcode National: GBR G3NT.KP

Mapcode Global: WH9ZB.NTH1

Entry Name: Rock art 350m east of The Ringses hillfort

Scheduled Date: 6 March 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1418072

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Doddington

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Chatton with Chillingham

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


15 Prehistoric rock art panels aligned north west to south east along a break of slope in gently rising ground.  

Source: Historic England


Principal elements: 15 prehistoric rock art panels.

Description: The series of panels are aligned north west to south east along a break of slope in gently rising ground from where lengthy views of the surrounding landscape are visible.  

Two panels are contained within the first area of scheduling. The first (ERA 25) is a quarried outcrop bearing a scatter of cup marks over the surface, some of which have grooves and pick marks and there are pick marks indicating a number of incomplete motifs and cups at the centre of rings, penannulars and arcs. A natural fault separates them from other distinct motifs on the rock to the east, and two, just above this slight change of level, are rare in having the ends of penannulars looped together. Further to the east a rosette motif dominates; this rare form has a central cup, up to ten cups around it, and two outer concentric rings. A duct leads from the central cup and flows down the rock beyond the concentric circles to a cup. At the lower end are three cups enclosed by an angular groove. The second panel (ERA 26) is divided into two by a crack. Motifs to the south of this include a large figure comprising a central cup, with four concentric grooves with a circular groove around a small cup appended to the outer circle at the top end. Above this is a cup and penannular and an outer arc; a scatter of cups are thought to exist in the vicinity. A variety of motifs lie to the north of the crack and these are dominated by a rosette containing eight cups, but also include cups, cups and rings and penannulars. These two outcrops are contained within the first area of scheduling.

The third panel (ERA 27), contained within the second area of scheduling, lies 72m to the south east and comprises a small outcrop with a series of at least seventeen individual and deeply incised cup marks and at least one single cup with a surrounding ring.

A small closely spaced group of three panels, contained within the third area of scheduling, lie 42m to the south east. The first (ERA 30) occupies the surface of a small, quarried outcrop with a steep south face. Visible motifs include cups and rings and isolated cups. The most prominent motif comprises three cups surrounded by three rings, which are shallow and broken in places. The outer ring is tending to a D-shape with the straight part parallel to the quarried edge. The second panel (ERA 28) has one very clear cup mark and the indistinct remains of what have been identified as several others, one of which is recorded as having at least two faint circular grooves around a cluster of up to five cups. The third panel (ERA 29) has the remains of three small cups.

A pair of panels, contained within the fourth area of scheduling, lie 65m to the south east. The first (ERA 31) is an outcrop with three visible cups and other motifs clearly disappearing beneath grass cover. The second small outcrop (ERA 33) comprises a well-defined cup surrounded by faint rings and a second cup with three rings located right on the "nose" of this small outcrop.

Some 19m to the south east lies an irregularly-shaped outcrop (ERA 34) which is contained within the fifth area of scheduling. The slightly domed panel bears the remains of at least 15 individual cups of varying sizes. Beckensall thought that he could identify settings of linear groups or dominoes within their number.

A small group of five panels lie 25m to the south east and are contained within the sixth area of scheduling. The first (ERA 37) is a domed outcrop bearing at least 18 cups varying in size from 5cm to 20cm across, three of which are considered to be linked together by a groove. On the north face there is a cup surrounded by a penannular. The second panel (ERA 38) is a large outcrop 3m by 2m with motifs present on the top surface and on one of the vertical side faces. Motifs present include at least 14 individual cups and two linear alignments of cups, a cup with multiple penannulars, two serpentine grooves and a number of channels. The vertical east face includes a linear setting of six cups. A third outcrop (ERA 36) has the remains of a cup mark and a large oval basin 15cm across and 5 cm deep on its sloping face. The fourth outcrop (ERA 35) has a single cup, and the fifth (ERA 39) has motifs on the top surface of a small outcrop; one of these cups is countersunk within an oval basin. A roughly circular outcrop (ERA 40) bears at least four single cups and a pair of cups with grooves and penannulars; the edges of the panel are apparently defined by a groove (probably natural) running around the outer edge.

Extent of scheduling: the prehistoric rock art panels lie within six separate scheduled areas. Ten of the panels are contained within five separate circular areas with diameters varying between 5m and 12m. The final five panels are a closely related group and are contained within an irregularly shaped area with maximum dimensions of 25m north to south by 10m east to west. All defined areas also include the archaeologically sensitive areas in between and/or around the visible panels.

Mapping Note: the OS depiction of some of the panels is incorrect; the NADRAP locations have been used to define the scheduled areas and therefore some of the OS depictions lie outside of these.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The prehistoric rock art 350m east of The Ringses hillfort is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: despite their susceptibility to natural weathering, the rock art panels are reasonably well preserved and many of the motifs are deep and well-defined; * 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 of rare rosette form;
* Potential: these survivals will contribute to our knowledge of prehistoric society through study of the individual panels and through an increased understanding of the circumstances in which rock art was created and used;
* Group value: taken as a group, these panels will enhance both our understanding of the inter-relationships between individual panels, and their relationship to the wider landscape. The panels lie in the vicinity of nearby scheduled prehistoric ancient monuments on Doddington Moor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Prehistoric Rock Motifs of Northumberland Volume 1, (1991), 22-25
Beckensall, S, Northumberland's Prehistoric Rock Carvings: A Mystery Explained , (1983), 100-106
Mazel, et al (eds), Art as Metaphor: The Prehistoric Rock-Art of Britain, (2007)
, accessed from
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Northumberland County Council HER: ID 3817,

Source: Historic England

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