Pike Hill, Stamfordham, Northumbria

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 0774 7048

Archaeology & History

1928 photo of carving

Found inside a prehistoric tomb that was excavated in the late 1920s “by Messrs R.C. and W.P. Hedley at Pike Hill, near Stamfordham,” this fascinating-looking carving was found on a stone that “was overlying the primary burial” cist in the middle of the tumulus, measuring “2 feet 9 inches long by 2 feet wide and 12 inches deep, with an orientation on the longer axis of NE.”  As we can see in the old photo that accompanied Mr Hedley’s (1928) short article in Antiquity journal, four single cups are arranged in a rough square and are joined with each other by a single line, running from cup to cup, outlining a clear quadrilateral formation.  Two other single cups are outliers on the left and right side of the ‘square.’

A second smaller cist was also found inside the same mound and on the central inner face of this was another, more simplistic carving described as “a very fine cup-mark 1½ inch in diameter and ¾-inch deep.”  These carvings are no longer in situ (I think they’re in Newcastle Museum) and apparently this second single cup-marked stone can no longer be located.

References:

Beckensall, Stan, Northumberland’s Prehistoric Rock Carvings, Pendulum: Rothbury 1983.
Beckensall, Stan, Prehistoric Rock Motifs of Northumberland – volume 2: Beanley to the Tyne, Abbey Press: Hexham 1992.
Hedley, R. Cecil, “Ancient British Burials, Northumberland,” in Antiquity Journal, volume 2, December 1928.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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