Bronze Age Carved Rock (PRAWR 322)
Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire OS Map Ref SE13264594
OS Maps - Landranger 104 (Leeds & Bradford), Explorer 297 (Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley)
The Idol Stone with the carvings marked with water
The Idol Stone is one of the more well known carved rocks in the Ilkley / Rombalds Moor area and lies close to a path leading from the Cow and Calf rocks southwards over the moor to Lanshaw and the Twelve Apostles stone circle.
The designs on the upper suface of this small flat-topped boulder consists of twenty-five cup marks that seem to have been laid out in some deliberate order. There is a group of eight cups in two lines of four (bottom right in the photographs), a line of seven cups inside a rectangular carving (middle of the pictures) and a further line of cups above these that seem to curve around one end of the rectangular carving (top of pictures). There is also a groove that runs around the entire rock (difficult to see in the lower picture but clear in the top picture when marked with water).
As with most of the rock carvings of this type, which are thought to date from the Bronze Age, its original purpose or symbolism is unclear but unlike many other rocks on the moor the design here seems to incorporate some kind of geometric pattern rather than a seemingly random collection of cups or grooves.
See also: Ilkley Moor & Rombald's Moor introduction and site list.
A different time of the year with oblique evening sunlight casting the cup marks into shadow.
Beckensall, S. 1999. British Prehistoric Rock Art. Stroud: Tempus Publishing Ltd.
Boughey, K.J.S. and Vickerman, E.A. 2003. Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding. West Yorkshire Archaeology Service.
Pastscape: 49921, NMR Number: SE 14 NW 23.
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