RA near the Buck Stones?


Received the following question from David Raven:

Hi Guys,
I was wondering if you could help me?
I noticed some ‘carvings’ yesterday, during a walk on Rombald’s Moor. I’d not noticed them before, so I tried to look them up in Boughey and Vickerman’s book ‘Prehistoric Rock Art in the West Riding’, but I couldn’t find them.
The ‘carvings’ looked like a lot of cups and quite a bit of pecking. The approximate location is SE 094456, around the Buck Stones. Here are two links to some photographs I took:-
I have a couple more without the legs in (which I used for scale!) from other angles, if you want to see them.
Do you know if these particular carvings actually do appear in the PRAWR book, and I’ve just been unable to ascertain which ones they are? If they’re not in that book, have been recorded elsewhere?
Or are they natural? I know that some of the rocks up there contain fossils of the lepidendron trees, which can sometimes look similar to peck marks?
Thanks for your time.
Best Regards

Here a map of the SE 094 456 gridref.


16 Responses to RA near the Buck Stones?

  1. David Raven says:

    Ah! Many thanks for that Mr B!
    Much appreciated…


  2. Keith Boughey says:

    Dear Dave,
    I have finally managed to visit the site on a sufficiently clear day to check the ‘carvings’ out and take some good photographs to add to the excellent ones you sent me.

    Here are my observations:
    1. They are definitely not cup-and-ring marks: the sizes of the marks, their disposition, and state of wear all point to something else altogether and much more recent.
    2. Highly unlikely, too, to be any kind of fossil, although millstone girt in particular localities is highly fossiliferous (Carboniferous period)as the edges are far too sharp – a fossil of this age would be much more worn and embedded into the rock surface.
    3. The most likely cause of the markings in both cases, given the sharp, jagged fringes to mamy of them, their clearly radial nature fanning out from what appears to be some kind of ‘explosive’ centre, and the small ‘cups’that occur in clear pairs along the radial grooves, is to do with ordnance. Buck Stones, and this large rock in particular, would make very conspicupus targets in a military exercise. The radial grooves would be caused by shrapnel issuing from the explosive centre of impact of the ordnance, and the small cups caused by metal pellets with the ordnance. Indeed, from this crater evidence, it may well be possible to identify the actual type of ordnance responsible. I have a number of contacts here who would be able to help and give a more definite and informed professional opinion.

    So, to summarise, the markings are most probably due to 20th Century ordnance – they are definitely not prehistoric!

    Best wishes

    P.S. I have carelessly mislaid your e-mail address, so if you re-email me, I will be able to re-establish e-mail contact with you.

  3. rockrich says:

    Hi Dave, I tried getting there for 11 (been out all night and just picked this up), but failed miserably due to Ilkley Road being rather dodgy….had to reverse back from Bradup, which was interesting.

    Light looks good, hope you managed to find the b*ggers under the snow.

    PS. If you’ve a strange tel nos on your mobile (presuming yours still ends 9128) thats me.

  4. David Raven says:

    Thanks for that George… looks very similar…
    I’ll measure the ‘micro-cups’ tomorrow…

    Rich – time change – we’ll be up at Whetstone Gate around quarter to midday…

    Dave πŸ™‚

  5. geocur says:

    Hello Dave ,
    This stone from Finlarg Hill, near me has markings something similar to the Buck Stones. The groove looks like has been worked but doubt if it is prehistoric. Struck me as a case of lithic acne.

  6. David Raven says:

    Got a really nice email back from Mr Boughey which said that the PRAWR update CD includes one new bit of RA from the Buck Stones, but it’s neither of the carvings I sent him pics of. He’s gonna check them out when he gets a chance.

    He said “… I cannot confirm whether they are genuine or not from photographs alone, but your photographs are clear and the markings, while not the typical dimensions of cups, are certainly unusual to say the least. I have not come across such ‘microcups’ before, nor arranged as they appear to be in rays or fans, which does suggest an element of deliberate design, i.e. a human input.’

    To be honest, I don’t remember thinking that the cups were smaller than those normally found. But I wouldn’t trust my memory! I’ll measure a few on Saturday πŸ™‚

    Rich – We’ll be up at Whetstone Gate around 11 am. Be good if you can make it and give us yer opinion πŸ™‚


  7. rockrich says:

    It isn’t often Mr Aspinall’s finds get dragged out as examples, but is this one on a smaller scale:

  8. rockrich says:

    A couple similar to the westerly one, are on Middleton Moor and there are two more around West Loups’s (Co Durham), there’s one on Goldsborough (Co Durham) ….& Andy Hemmingway (I think) found one in Derbyshire, which he investigated and was found to be from a mortar. Interestingly, Middleton Moor was a firing range during WWII and West Loups’s still is today, Goldsborough is only a few hundred metres north of West Loups’s.

    Having said that, the linearity of the first just doesn’t stack up to an explosion.

    Like you Dave, I’m no expert on fossils, plus I can probably add geology, ordnance and rock art to my area of non expertise… so I best shut up πŸ˜‰

    I might try and make Saturday, but I’m ‘ont booze night before. What time and where ya meeting?

  9. Graemec says:

    Apologies/compliments to your good lady – re the legs speculation
    -perhaps more a reflection on Mr B’s slender physique πŸ™‚

    It will be interesting to see if the site is on Mr Boughey’s list or if they have been noted before. either way they are worth flagging up in case other examples turn up.

  10. David Raven says:

    Hi Graeme,

    After my initial ‘Ooh look – cup marks? Peck marks?’ moment, I did wonder if the pecking might be fossils. The only fossils I’ve noticed up there are occasional Lepidendrons and this is only vaguely similar. But, I’m no fossil expert!
    (And no, the legs don’t belong to Paulus! They belong to Our Lass!)…

    I emailed some pics to Keith Boughey earlier this evening, so hopefully I’ll find out if they’re included in the PRAWR update.

    I’m taking Dave Weldrake from the WYAAS to see them this Saturday (6th Dec, late mornin’), if anyone else fancies a gander and wants to come along let me know πŸ™‚


  11. GraemeC says:

    if i had to put my 50p on it i would probably go for them being a wierd fossily type marking, but thats just my guess. They do look eroded/ancient and its interesting they are near other natural features in the rock.
    Apparently there is an update to the west riding rock art book, so they could be in there, but they might not have included any debatable/iffy ones?
    Anyway talking of fossils, do those legs belong to the lesser spotted Benneticus πŸ™‚


  12. David Raven says:

    Is that a bit of a Paisley pattern there?! πŸ˜€
    Top right of the central hole – like a ‘teardrop’ of cups around a hole…
    (I’ve got another photo somewhere that Marion took, it shows this a bit better…)

  13. David Raven says:

    Hi Rich,

    Thanks for that! Interesting idea. I did wonder about the larger hole in the middle. There are a few holes of various sizes on the rock surface.

    Here’s a few more pics, from other angles or closer, and without feet!
    The ‘carvings’ are on adjacent rocks, the Eastern One, lots of cups (?), and a long ‘pecked’ line (?) that reminded me of the vertebrae in a spine:-

    The Western One, a sort of ‘fan’ shape, or half a circle, of pecks (a bit
    like the ‘spine’ one) and cups?:-


  14. rockrich says:

    oh bloody ell, a few hundred metres to the north πŸ™‚

  15. rockrich says:

    the bomber crashed a few metres to the north, sorry.

  16. rockrich says:

    Hello Jan and Dave,

    My first thought is someone exploded summat inside hoil, the smaller markings look to be in the blast area, with the higher part of the stone where the tootsies are remaining untouched. This doesn’t account for what appears to be a linear arrangement to the left though.

    The second image looks like the starburst caused by shrapnel from ordnance or summat…the chunk missing from the stones edge may point towards the impact point. May be it was a mortar intended for Stanbury Hill that went a little astray πŸ™‚ Also a WWII Halifax bomber crashed not too far to the south, whether it was carrying explody jobbies I’m not too sure.

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