Bench marks and crosses are sometimes found on rock art panels as are quarrying in association with outcrops with RA .
There may be millstones too ,possibly in Northumberland ?
I prefer the decorative /doodle etc to utilitarian ,or more to the point what utility could be ascribed to the markings that couldn't be easily refuted ?
It's Schroedingers cat stuff , if you don't lift the turf it's only a rock but lifting the turf collpases the state vector .
The creation of the millstone could be seen as similar to quarrying , in fact a lot of quarrying has gone in the immediate area too , the millstone carvers would likely have been long after the RA engravers and would have noticed the rock art but it was a useful surface .
Not going on ,no problem .It's a very intersting site ,at least to some of us .
Wow, that's something else. Has anything similar ever been found? Milling grain on a rock art panel? I have seen crosses and suchlike, but a 'working', utilitarian dimension is a first for me.
My last question wasn't phrased correctly: I meant that in trying to find these panels, in the digging and revealing of them, do we not break the code of 'take only memories, leave only footprints'? Which is not to say that I believe that you, or I, should not pull back the turf on prospective rocks – just that this latest find of yours, with the millstone attached, seems very important and could do with a 'serious' excavation. I am aware that there is a contradiction at the core of this, that we'd never know of the panel had the turf not been pulled back, but I'd never ascribed this 'utilitarian' aspect to rock art before, preferring the decorative, doodle theory.
Which leads me to this: the act of carving the rock art has transformed what was a piece of bedrock into a 'sacred' 'site' – i.e. that the act of carving/picking 'gives' the rock significance. Hence the desire to mill whatever it was that was milled here.
There might never be an excavation ,rock art panels rarely are excavted . The millstone is still attached to the bedrock . I think the markings on the groove around the millstone were made by metal tools ,if this is confirmed then we would have stone and metal use reflecting their different period of production .
It wouldn't be the first time that different periods of use are found on the same surface . Bench marks and Christian crosses are sometimes found on rock art panels .
The act of finding a previously undiscovered panels changes the status of what was part of the landscape to an aretefact /monument i.e. non-archaeological to archaeological .
The millstone buried beside the panel is very interesting. When the excavation is done do you think they'll be able to date when it was buried? And maybe tell whether the covering over of the panel was deliberate? And, if I may, when a 'new' find is found, does not the very act of finding interfere with the archaeology?
Thanks for coming along and adding your comments. It is a lovely part of the world and we enjoyed the walk up through the woods - but I have to say we were subject to pretty much open hostility from the golfers that we encountered once we were out in the open. I'm sure this doesn't reflect all the members though!
I would add that I live in the Cotswolds now, and it's depressing that several of the finest hillforts here have been damaged by golf courses, so I'm probably a bit prejudiced by that, sorry. Really pleased to hear you work with EH, etc. The hillfort ramparts that double as Offa's Dyke are impressive along the edge of the hill.
I would love to get back there at some point, there's lots of other stuff in the area that time didn't allow us to visit.