Monday, 28 July 2014

Northumbrian Rock Art

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One of (many) wonderful things about Northumberland is the incidence of extremely ancient and mysterious rock carvings

http://rockart.ncl.ac.uk/ - which I invite interested readers to browse.

These carvings have the power to create a powerful feeling of connection with people of the past - and irresistibly lead to speculations about what these markings are for?

I have my own theory, naturally!, which is that they are symbolic maps - used for teaching about significant landscape features.

For instance, the concentric rings like those shown in the above illustration are representing 'hill forts' - such as this one at Lordenshaws (aerial photo):



and the carved lines represent either paths or rivers.

Since many of these landscape features will be undiscovered, lost or altered; and since I would not expect a symbolic map to resemble closely the actual landscape - my theory has the virtue of being both psychologically gratifying and essentially un-disproveable!

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