Ketley Crag Rock Shelter
Bronze Age Carved Rock
North East of Chatton, Northumberland  OS Map Ref NU07462981
OS Maps - Landranger 75 (Berwick-upon-Tweed), Explorer 340 (Holy Island & Bamburgh)


Ketley Crag - View looking west
View looking west from Ketley Crag rock shelter and its stunningly beautiful carved rock floor with Lyham Burn valley to the right and the northern edge of the Cheviot Hills on the horizon.
Underneath a northwest facing rock overhang above the Lyham Burn valley the carvings of Ketley Crag consist of a highly complex design of cups, rings, grooves and gutters that covers almost the entire rock surface leaving very little space between the individual motifs. By my reckoning the number of cups measures just over thirty with about twenty seven of them having rings or partial rings - in some places these rings are shallower or eroded making an accurate determination difficult. Of these cup and rings eleven contain a single ring, ten have a pair of rings, five have three rings and one has four rings. Gutters of varying lengths emerge from eighteen of the motifs and there are also several unconnected grooves across the surface of the rock.
When compared to the nearby carving of Chatton 1a there are some striking differences in the two sets of designs. At Chatton the exposed bedrock has an open air feeling which seems to be reflected in the use of space between the various motifs whereas the overhang of the rock shelter at Ketley gives a more confined or intimate feeling and here the carvings jostle for space in a design the seems to be intended to fill the entire surface of the rock and while Chatton's carvings appear delicately executed the Ketley carvings lack nothing in boldness. Although there are more motifs at Ketley the number of rings doesn't exceed five with one or two rings being the most numerous, Chatton by contrast has a five and seven ring motif. Is this significant or was it just that the larger rock surface at Chatton allowed the carving of larger motifs?
Ketley Crag - detail of the carvings
Ketley Crag, close-up view of the carvings.
Ketley Crag - detail of the carvings
The Ketley Crag carvings illuminated by side flash


180 Degree Panorama


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