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That’s an old diagram of a carved stone called Haystack Rock (Google images at the link) on Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire. The marks are called cup and cup-and-ring respectively and appear in early neolithic contexts all over the UK and Europe, but also as far as Israel and India.

Could be coincidence. Pockmarks and rings (and, in some cases, straightish lines) are about as basic a shape as you can carve into a stone. Could be the result of some kind of pan-neolithic belief, religious or otherwise. Could be something purely mechanical: it has been suggested the marks might have something to do with shaping or polishing stone axes.

I don’t usually like fanciful explanations — particularly the tendency to assume every difficult thing our ancestors did had a religious significance — but the location of this stone in particular, in the midst of a neolithic burial ground, makes me wonder if the marks are some kind of memorial. I can so imagine myself working through a bereavement by slowly grinding a little permanent mark into a sacred stone.

Oh, well. Too fanciful. Never mind.

I retreat into history to avoid rage-inducing current events. I found a nice article on Haystack Rock on a good antiquarian blog (much recommendo), at the end of which:

On a very worrying note, we need to draw attention to what amounts to the local Ilkley Parish Council officially sanctioning vandalism on the Haystack Rock, other prehistoric carvings and uncarved rocks across Ilkley Moor. As we can see on a couple of photos here, recent vandalism has been enacted on this supposedly protected monument. […] The recent vandalism on this stone and others has now been officially recognised as an acceptable form of — get this! — “twentieth / twenty-first century informal unauthorised carving” and has been deemed acceptable by Ilkley Parish Council as a means to validate more unwanted carving on the moorland “in the name of art”!

Holy shit, they’re letting special snowflakes vandalize neolithic monuments in the name of muh art!


Comment from P2
Time: March 29, 2016, 9:25 pm

just ain’t no accountin’ for the stupidity of elected criminals…. as the iconic Vyvyan said..”We got a letter from the council…..they’re going to demolish the house tomorrow.”

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: March 29, 2016, 10:01 pm

Star charts for ancient astronauts and time travelers.

Comment from mojo
Time: March 29, 2016, 10:39 pm

Banksy will be along, just wait.

Comment from mojo
Time: March 29, 2016, 10:43 pm

Ooh, Druidic rites! Ghostly visions and such-like! Sounds legit to me.

Any of these visions involve Druidic ghosts beating up on taggers with stone axes?

Comment from Mitchell
Time: March 29, 2016, 11:43 pm

Obviously they’re paleolithic versions of Googly Eyes.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: March 30, 2016, 12:04 am

” … twenty-first century informal unauthorised carving …”.

The special snowflake needs a good old-fashioned twenty-first century informal unauthorized” thump on the noggin. And maybe a swift kick in the junk.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: March 30, 2016, 12:05 am

Yeah, stoaty gets naked and dances around on the stones in the moonlight wearing deer antlers. 🙂

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: March 30, 2016, 2:11 am

Seems to me that today’s stone carving folks are just carrying on a tradition that goes back to neolithic times. Why shouldn’t current vandals have some fun at it, too? It isn’t as though every old rock is worthy of veneration; some may be but what’s special about this particular one?

My epiphany in the Historic Preservation scam business came a couple of decades ago when the local HP society almost got a run down garage and filling station declared untouchable merely because it was the oldest one in town. It wasn’t even one of the first, and was otherwise utterly unremarkable.

Comment from M
Time: March 30, 2016, 2:22 am

Why not bring in a big rock that isn’t historically significant for the yahoos to carve on? Save the original and give the little shits something to do. Win-win. In a thousand years when a new civilization finally rises out of the ashes of SMOD they will look at our snowflake’s “art” and try to determine the special religious meanings. Heh.

Comment from M
Time: March 30, 2016, 2:26 am

” I can so imagine myself working through a bereavement by slowly grinding a little permanent mark into a sacred stone.”

This makes more sense than a lot of archeologist’s theories.

Comment from mojo
Time: March 30, 2016, 1:33 pm

OT: “Thanks, Obama!”

DEA gets on it’s high horse. So to speak.

Comment from mojo
Time: March 30, 2016, 2:54 pm

PS: Oops!


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 30, 2016, 7:12 pm

Ugh. Man, I hate it when they go through one of these spasms of cutting back meds some people need because other people might abuse them.

We can’t see it, because we’re too close to it, but I’m convinced the thing future generations will be most stricken by our age: the nannying, bullying and minding each others’ business.

Comment from SpongeBobSaget
Time: March 31, 2016, 3:33 am

I can so imagine myself working through a bereavement by slowly grinding an axe to homicidal sharpness.

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