Bronze Age Rock Carvings
Northeast of Ilkley, North Yorkshire OS Map Ref SE17425076
OS Maps - Landranger 104 (Leeds & Bradford), Explorer 297 (Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley)
Askwith Moor is an area of rough heather covered moorland northeast of Ilkley and northwest of Otley. It has several carved rocks but due to the undergrowth and lack of tracks they can be difficult to find.
One particular carving is said to resemble a human figure which could be interpreted as either a shaman, a hunter with a bow, or some kind of deity, alternatively it may be just a fortuitous arrangement of cups and unfinished rings or grooves. This stone is particularly difficult to locate and was in fact only discovered in the mid 1980's by Graeme Chappell and Paul Bennett. Now referred to as the 'Man Stone' its grid reference is given as SE 16722 50595 in Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding (Boughey and Vickerman 2003).
The carving is on the lower part of the southern end of a boulder that lies within a small area of other rocks and is quite striking (I've highlighted it on the inset above)- is it a human figure wearing a hat or wielding a bow, or is the upper part of the carving a second figure being held aloft or jumping over the lower figure? The interpretation might depend upon a faint possible cup mark at the top of the carving. In the picture above I've shown this small mark as does Chappell in his illustration on Bennett's website The Northern Antiquarian. If the mark is indeed deliberate then the second human figure theory might seem more likely. What it might mean or symbolize is of course anybody's guess.
If you venture onto the moor, it is worth taking the one track that does exist that leads from a gate north of the carpark on Askwith Moor Road, to a triangulation point at Shooting House Hill where there is a spectacular 360 degree view of the whole area between the Rivers Wharf and Washburn.
Probable Date: Bronze Age
A cup, ring and gutter carving on a stone at SE17425076 (PRAWR 533)
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