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Monument record MDR3513 - Cup and ring stones, Ball Cross hillfort, Edensor

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

During the excavation of Ball Cross Iron Age hillfort in the 1950s, three cup and ring stones were found stratified in the ditch fills. Two small triangular stones were found deep in the ditch, the third, a very large stone which had to be lifted with the aid of a tractor, was high up in the ditch. The latter was 37 inches long and of roughly square section. One face has a well-defined pattern of twelve cup-like depressions, one of them much larger than the others, surrounded by a deeply engraved line. Two isolated cups appear on the adjacent face, one of them with a ring round it. One of the smaller stones, 16 inches wide at the base, 15 inches high and 7 inches thick, has a line engraved down the centre through a ring of five cups. There is one cup in the apex and two more in the lower right hand corner. The third stone is a broken fragment only. The excavator of the site suggested that the stones may have been in some way associated with the wall surrounding the hillfort, possibly having stood on top of it. The position of the two smaller stones in the bottom of the ditch would be consistent with this interpretation, while the larger stone might easily have remained on the berm, in view of its weight, when the wall was pushed over and have been rolled down with the last stones, some of which partially overlay it. (1) A plaster cast of a large cup and ring marked boulder from the fort is in Weston Park Museum, Sheffield; the original is stated to be in the British Museum. (2) Photographic record. (4) Three examples of rock art were found during excavations at Ball Cross. A large boulder was discovered in the upper silting of the hillfort ditch; it appears to have been part of the rampart. The carving is badly worn and is likely to be of an earlier date than the fortification. One face has an oval groove surrounding cupmarks, while the top has a cup and ring and an isolated cup. It is now on display in Sheffield City Museum. A smaller stone was found at the bottom of the ditch silts. The flat face has a dished centre with eight cupmarks and a groove. The sides have been carefully shaped into an equilateral triangle. One side has two cupmarks and a further two slight hollows. It is also on display in Sheffield. The third find, which also came from near the base of the ditch, was a small slab with three cupmarks arranged in a crude triangle. It is in Sheffield City Museum store. (5) It was noted in 1982 (see above) that the second stone had a dished face and that it had been shaped to be triangular. The dishing has probably been created by pecking, whereas the stone has been selected for its shape rather than having been modified. (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Article in serial: Stanley, J. 1954. 'An Iron Age Fort at Ball Cross Farm, Bakewell', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol. 74. pp 85-99, illust..
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: F1 BHS 24-FEB-66.
  • <3> Index: NDAT. 0129.
  • <4> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Slide Collection. 5142.1-2.
  • <5> Article in serial: Barnatt, J (University of Sheffield) & Reeder, P. 1982. 'Prehistoric rock art in the Peak District', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 102, pp 33-44. p 42.
  • <6> Article in serial: Barnatt, J & Robinson, F. 2003. 'Prehistoric rock-art at Ashover School and further new discoveries ...', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol. 123, pp 1-28. p 20.



Grid reference SK 227 691 (point) (Approximate)

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Record last edited

Jun 25 2015 6:08PM

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