Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rock ’face’ mystery baffles experts

17.06.2004


Photograph of the face carving, found near Rothbury, Northumberland Credit Aron Mazel


Archaeologists have found a trio of extraordinary stone carvings while charting the phenomenon of prehistoric rock markings in Northumberland, close to the Scottish border in the United Kingdom.

Records and examples of over 950 prehistoric rock art panels exist in Northumberland, which are of the traditional ’cup and ring’ variety, with a typical specimen featuring a series of cups and concentric circles pecked into sandstone outcrops and boulders.

However, archaeologists at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, who are studying prehistoric rock carvings, are baffled by three unusual markings found carved into rocks at separate locations.



They consist of a small heart shape and a stylised carving of a human face, both found near prehistoric rock carvings close to Rothbury, and one discovered near Wark, which is such an unusual combination of lines and circles that it is impossible to say what it depicts.

The usual ’cup and ring’ marks are thought to have been made thousands of years ago by Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people. However, experts think the newly-discovered mystery marks could be much younger, with the heart and the face shapes potentially as little as 100-250 years old.

Dr Aron Mazel, of Newcastle University’s School of Historical Studies, is leading the Northumberland Rock Art Project with international rock art expert, Hexham-based Stan Beckensall.

Dr Mazel said: "We have enjoyed speculating about the meaning of these new and unusual markings but the truth is we really don’t know what they are.

"We found the heart marking next to a quarried edge, and I like to think it’s the work of a lonely quarryman.

"The stylised face reminds me of works done by Picasso around a hundred years ago that were inspired by African totemic carvings, but an art historian may think otherwise. The other marking is just so unusual that we have no idea what it is."

The Wark carving has been shown to experts at the British Museum but they and the Newcastle University team have been so puzzled by the unusual carving that information is being sought about what it is and may represent.

"We would welcome any suggestions from people who can offer a well-informed insight into who did the carvings and what they might represent."

Last year Dr Mazel and Mr Beckensall made an international appeal for an explanation for another set of mysterious markings hewn into an isolated sandstone boulder in Northumberland.

Dr Mazel added: "It is likely that there are more unusual carvings out there. We have heard about a carving which resembles a Napoleonic soldier but we haven’t managed to locate it yet."

Mr Beckensall, who was recently awarded an honorary degree from Newcastle University for his contribution to archaeology, said: "The carving found near Wark is the most dramatic and is unique. We thought it could have been an elaborate fossil remain but if you examine it carefully you can see it’s made by people - we don’t know how or when.

"I just hope that somebody who sees a picture of it has seen something like this before and can help solve our mystery."

The Northumberland Rock Art project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board. See: http://rockart.ncl.ac.uk/

Claire Jordan | Newcastle University
Further information:
http://rockart.ncl.ac.uk
http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press.office/press.release

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target
22.05.2018 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

nachricht Monitoring lava lake levels in Congo volcano
16.05.2018 | Seismological Society of America

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>