Cup-and-Ring Stone: OS Grid Reference – SK 231 691
Archaeology & History
One of three carvings that were located inside the walling of the Ball Cross hillfort during excavations here in the early 1950s by J. Stanley. (1954) Each carving is distinctly unlike the other in design (see Ball Cross 1 and Ball Cross 3) and it’s highly probable that they were incorporated into the Iron Age structure with their original mythic functions—of neolithic or Bronze Age origin—disused. It is not unlikely that this and its compatriots were originally found in association with the nearby prehistoric tombs.
The broken piece of rock consists of a broken section of an almost archetypal ‘cup-and-ring’—although with this design, no central ‘cup’ occurs: a pattern found at several other multiple-ring stones, like the Gray Stone near Leeds. Although Stan Beckensall (1999) described this to have “8 concentric rings”, his drawing and the photo here by Dean Thom, clearly show only seven such ‘rings’. The carving presently lives in a protective box in Sheffield Museum (though beware the listing they give of the designs, as some are incorrect).
- Barnatt, John & Reeder, Phil, “Prehistoric Rock Art in the Peak District,” in Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, 102, 1982.
- Beckensall, Stan, British Prehistoric Rock Art, Tempus: Stroud 1999.
- Beckensall, Stan, Circles in Stone: A British Prehistoric Mystery, Tempus: Stroud 2006.
- Cooper, Ali, Archaeology Walks in the Peak District, Sigma: Wilmslow 2010.
- Morgan, Victorian & Paul, Rock Around the Peak, Sigma: Wilmslow 2001.
Stanley, J., “An Iron Age fort at Ball Cross Farm, Bakewell,” in Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, volume 74, 1954.
Acknowledgements: HUGE thanks to Dean Thom for the use of his photo, plus helpful references on this site.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian