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Copt Howe

Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art


According to the SMR, there are two boulders here with rock art on them:

The monument includes what are known in rock climbing circles as The Langdale
Boulders, two prehistoric rock art sites in Great Langdale 250m south of Harry
Place. It consists of two very large boulders of Andesitic tuff a few metres
apart upon which a series of prehistoric rock carvings have been made. The
boulders were in their present position when carved upon. The western of the
two boulders, Boulder A, contains the most extensive carvings of the two
rocks. These are found on the vertical east face of the rock and include a
central unmarked `boss' and multiple concentric circles, one having up to
eleven rings. A linear feature in the shape of a chevron appears to be linked
to the unmarked `boss' by triple grooves which appear to have been carved
upwards. Many other unusual motifs are present on the rock face. Other
features include numerous `cup' marks - ie small circular hollows in the
rock. Whilst some of these `cup' marks are undoubtably man made and are
surrounded by rings, others appear to have been formed by the natural erosion
of mineral deposits within the rock. However, many of these natural `cups'
have been utilised to form part of the overall pattern and design of the rock
carving. The linear and `boss' carvings on Boulder A have comparisons with
carvings elsewhere, notably one found at The Glassonby cairn circle in eastern
Cumbria, and Temple Wood in Argyll.
The eastern boulder, Boulder B, has been partially quarried and appears to
have only one carving of two uncompleted rings, together with many natural
`cups' on the vertical southern face.
baza Posted by baza
19th September 2003ce

Comments (1)

Prehistorians, and close observers of 'rock art'; including Stan Beckensall ('Prehistoric Rock Art of Cumbria': Tempus 2002) are keen to claim the art on the Copt How boulders as 'prehistoric'. However, there's a lot of local controversy over the origins of some, if not the majority, of the Copt Howe art. Apparently there was a guy called Ken Corfe who lived in a tent in Chapel Stile, just down the Langdale Valley, in the late 1930's and early 1940's ce - and locals recall him being very artistic on the boulders at Copt Howe....

So where does that leave the prehistorians???
Posted by mick l dore
28th August 2008ce
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