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16 April 2005
New rock art discoveries in Yorkshire

A recent survey of moorlands to the north of Ilkley in Yorkshire (England), has led to a number of previously undocumented archaeological sites being found. Particularly at Middleton Moor, where Paul Bennett and Richard Stroud - authors of the survey - discovered in the area more than twenty cup-and-ring carvings. Several cairns, and possible standing stones, Neolithic walling, hut circles and a long-suspected prehistoric enclosure have also been discovered.
     Most of the new cup-and-ring carvings are quite simple designs, comprising little more than stones with single to multiple cup-markings: the majority of them being located in the region between Dryas Dike, northwards to the flat plain of Beamsley Level on Middleton Moor, more than 1100 feet (367m) above sea level.
     This area was first found to have a rich concentration of cup-and-ring carvings in the 1960s, when amateur archaeologist Stuart Feather found them and subsequently wrote his findings for a Bradford archaeology group. In a more recent survey by the West Yorkshire Archaeology Service in 2003, more carvings were highlighted on Middleton Moor - but it seems there is still much more to be found. Bennett and Stroud also examined all of the Middleton Moor carvings in the 2003 survey and found a number of them to be highly suspect.
     Over the last decade the amount of archaeological remains in the region between Middleton and Langbar Moors on the west, to Askwith and Snowden Moors to the east has doubled. It could be that these moorlands to the north of Ilkley were of equal, if not of greater importance to our Neolithic ancestors than Ilkley Moor itself.

Sources: The Megalithic Portal (8 April 2005), The Modern Antiquarian (9 April 2005)

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