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

Cocklawburn Beach Rings

Natural Rock Feature


So after 11 years, I finally managed to get here to check out Moey's find.

I took the long walk from the north end of the beach, passing the old lime kilns that are half fallen into the sea, so I would be able to have a gander at the other stretches of rock, and none of them had the rings. The rings themselves are on a fairly small patch of rocks, and looking at my photos, I'm not sure I found exactly the same ones as Moey, but it was definitely the same patch of rocks. Perhaps over the last decade, sand has shifted, or seaweed covered/uncovered some of the rings.

It's got to be a fairly slim chance that these things inspired the creators of the CnRs in the area, as the seashore would have been a lot further out back then, but hey, if there are such rings here, maybe there were others which are now much further out.

That still doesn't explain the ones to be found further afield, but I would like to think that the CnR carvers might have seen natural structures like these and incorporated them into the mythos of the rings.
Hob Posted by Hob
27th July 2014ce

Comments (2)

Those are so superb. I was on holiday in that area last year and feel a bit galled not to have seen them! They certainly have a cup and ringish feel. I like the way they look kind of swarmed over the rocks, they're at all different angles. They don't look like they're coming out of the rocks. They "look like they've been carved on"?

Surely, as you say, there has to be a chance that the carvers of the rock art saw those structures and were inspired by them. Or if not, that the place with the natural structures could have become connected in people's minds with whatever meanings the rock art had.

Those are definitely not everyday structures are they. And surely, as such, they would attract special explanation. (You can see where I'm going here, I know I'm predictable, and yes it may be put down to an overimaginative romantic imagination, you may skip the next bit if you like). But I was rereading an old essay of mine the other day (so very old) and it was about anthropological theories of landscape and sacred sites. It mentioned people engaging perceptually with the landscape they live in and connecting its enduring features to the lives of people who were there before, not to mention the features being clues to supernatural forces. You know, like what on earth could have made such weird things, set in stone? Is it also relevant that the stones are on the edge of two worlds, the land and the sea? Yeah I'm getting carried away. Perhaps no-one ever noticed them etc etc. But I like them.

And they're not so far from the stony folklore of St Cuthbert's beads at lindisfarne. Those are supposed to be the hollow crinoid stems. I don't remember finding any on the beach there. But I found plenty like these, and I liked them better
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th July 2014ce
Heh! You're preaching to the choir here. I know the coast has shifted, but those strange geological features resulting from the whin sill being exposed to the sea will presumably stretch out to where the old coastline was. The Archaeos reckon that the cairns at Low Hauxley, which are now on the edge of the sea, would have been on a ridge overlooking he coast during the BA. So it stands to reason that things haven't shifted miles and miles.

Maybe there were even stranger rock formations visible then.
Hob Posted by Hob
29th July 2014ce
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