The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Fontburn (b)

Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art


This is the table like rock described in Stan Beckensall's 'Prehistoric rock art in Northumberland'. I think the grid ref given in the book may be a little off, as the stones is maybe 150m to the north east of the ref given which caused minor searching to begin with, but the photo in the book showed it is on the edge of conifer plantation, near a gate.

Approach from the bridlepath linking Newbiggin farm with Greenleighton farm, where the land rises towards the sheep pens marked on the map, turn left, and head towards the sheepfold with the tree in the middle (neat little structure that it is). Here there is a boulder with a single easy to spot cupmark. Look to the left, and the table-slab is visible lurking beneath the conifer branches. It has a strong presence, despite, or maybe because of the way in which it seems to be trying to tuck itself away. Unfortunately, the trees obscure the view, so it's hard to say if it could have a line of sight to the four-poster on the other side of Fallowlees burn.

Big Stan counted over 80 cups, pushed for time, I didn't even try and check, as some are very faint. The rings and arcs were visible, and I found myself in total agreement with the observation that whilst the slab is reminiscent of Old Bewick, the motifs are much simpler. The setting isn't anywhere near as good as Old Bewick either, but I really felt this slab has a presence. Despite effort not to do so, I couldn't help but imagine it slouching into the trees, grumbling in a Gilliamesque kinda way. It's undeniable that this is a good example of several species of small, simple motifs, gathered together on a slab, possibly even grooved together with a pick.
Hob Posted by Hob
13th July 2004ce

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