Council worker stumbles across 3,000-year-old carving
From The Star (South Yorkshire):
"PREHISTORIC art 3,000 years old was discovered by chance in woodland by a council worker while carrying out routine maintenance work.
John Gilpin, a woodlands officer in the Parks and Countryside department, stumbled upon the find in Ecclesall Woods... continues...
This is a strange one, a carved stone in a wood on the posh outskirts of south west Sheffield, but there are a few clues to work from. First thing you notice as you approach the wood from the northeast is that you're going uphill, if you carry on for another few miles you're onto the moors with Ash Cabin Flat only 4 miles and Barbrook 5 miles from the stone. So it stands close to an existing prehistoric landscape, it's just that the urbanisation of Sheffield has destroyed anything to the east - it's a miracle that this stone survived. This hillside position is also close to the River Sheaf which reminded me of the stones that overlook the Wharf on Ilkley Moor. Also the general design is typically 'Yorkshire' with the gutter that runs around the edge of the rock being very similar to The Planets. The similarity with the rocks to the west ends with the condition of the stone however. The grooves are so deeply cut in places and the edges so sharp that it's hard to believe that it's the same age as the worn and eroded west Yorkshire rocks which leads me to one of three conclusions. First, that this wood is *very* old and has protected the stone from the worst of the elements, I would still expect more erosion though. Second is that the stone has been buried for a long time - certainly in October it had almost vanished under a layer of leaves. Thirdly is that the stone came from somewhere else where it maybe formed part of the inside a cairn and was moved here for some reason by those overenthusiastic 19th century antiquarians, a lack of other rocks in the wood might support this theory.
Whichever, it's still a lovely example of a carved stone - I love it!
A large carved sandstone slab with 3 ovals surrounding several cup marks. The ovals have been cut so deep one of the platforms with the cup marks on stands proud of the stone. Several 'gutters' are also carved which just about surround the whole of the other carvings. A corker!
I reckon the best place to start is on Whirlowdale Road, near to the junction with Whirlowdale Crescent. Take the path on the corner and follow it thru' the woods along the line of the gardens that back onto the wood. The first stream you come to (dry in summer) head off left into the trees for about 70m, the stone is in a clearing and is clearly visible.
The question-mark in stubob's contribution can be changed to an exclamation-mark! In the 1983 issue of "The Derbyshire Archaeological Journal" a brief article appeared written by John Barnatt and Peter Frith titled: "A Newly Discovered 'Cup and Ring' Carving in Ecclesall Wood". Some statements from the interesting article:
- The stone was first noticed in 1981 by Peter Frith;
- It is the first prehistoric carving to be discovered in the eastern foothills of the southern Pennines;
- The carving is unusual in several respects: three sub-ovals, deeply cut rings, each surrounding 1-4 shallower cups connected by grooves; the central ring with its internal cups has been emphasised by cutting away the sandstone on three sides to form a raised oval boss (possibly unique); gutters near the edge of the slab which surround much of the carving; the internal grooves subdividing the slab into several irregular, enclosure-like, zones and the various elements are not cut to a consistent depth.