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


Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art


This has to be up as a contender for the title of 'rock art with the best view'. It really is in an excellent spot, with the big end of the cheviots arranged directly in front of you, leaving no doubt as to why this spot was chosen to be marked. I was particularly pleased on a recent visit to be able to confirm that the allegedly sacred hill of Simonside is also visible, which is unusual for this end of Northumberland.

What Fitzcoraldo says below about the ghostly appearance of the carvings is spot on, they do have an eldritch quality about them, an effect which is most pronounced in strong sunlight. At times, it's possible to ook from angles that the motifs almost vanish into the quartzy glistening white surface of the outcrop. At other times, in different lighting conditions, they can appear totally different, and the surface of the outcrop looks much darker, and reflected light can pick the pattern out superbly.

You'd think that they'd be at their finest at sunset, but I found that the trees can cast annoying shadows which prevented the motifs from being highlighted as well as I'd hoped. Pah! One of these days I shall manage to get a good photo which shows the carvings and the view. It'd be great to spend a year or so standing over this outcrop watching it intently as it's appearance shifts.

The panel Stubob speaks of at the top of the hill is one of the best examples of fresh pick marks, possibly evenmore so that the hidden motif at North Plantation. According to the Beckensall Archive, these fresh picks have been designated 'Chatton 13' (with only a 2m difference in the 10 digit refs, good going eh?!).
Whilst it seems a shame to expose such fresh cup marks to the ravages of the elements, they should provide a good indicator of the rate at which the stone hereabouts erodes. This in turn may help in attempts to ascertain the best preservation strategies for what remains of the area's prehistoric rock art. Maybe.

Chatton 4 is in the middle of a little hillfort, (or a settlement with high banks), this is a lump of stone with carvings. It's more or less in the middle of the earthworks, and it's difficult to think that the builders of the earthworks were unaware of the carvings.

The cup and ring on the top of the slab are considerably more worn looking than the ones on the side. It's tempting to think that this may have been because they were used in some way by the Iron Age (?) folk who built the earthworks. It's definitely not just the results of natural weathering, more the kind of thing you'd get after years of people running their fingers over the motif. At least to my mind, but admittedly, I am just making this up as I go along

The panel to the east that Pebbles speaks of is that designated 'Chatton 5' by the Archive, and has an unusual little motif, both in it's form and it's position on a vertical surface.

One last thing to say about Chatton, it can be an infuriating place. There is so much that leaves nagging questions which will never be answered. There are maybe-cairns, maybe-cups, maybe-burnt mounds, traces of maybe-houses. Combine these maybes with the general mystery of the meanings of the motifs, add a strong sense that quarrying and erosion may have caused the loss of some carvings, and this is a place that needs to be pondered in depth.
Hob Posted by Hob
11th June 2005ce
Edited 9th October 2005ce

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