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I try…


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!

March 29, 2016 — 8:43 pm
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