Prehistoric Rock Art


The Tees valley around Barnard Castle has a large number of enigmatic carved rocks surviving from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages some 4000 to 6000 years ago. This is some of the oldest surviving art in northern Britain and, while much of it has been recognised as nationally important and is protected by English Heritage, few people are aware of it or the wonderful landscapes surrounding it, including ancient ritual sites and track ways.

Field research by 2000 identified four ‘panels’ of Rock Art at the western edge of Hawkesley Hill, a few miles north-west of Barnard Castle . The motifs consist variously of cups, rings, grooves, isolated peck marks, and other more heavily eroded features some of which may actually be of natural origin. There are also a number of earth-fast boulders nearby.
The project will entail the detailed recording of the visible Rock Art features and a search for additional examples in the vicinity both by surface inspection and by excavation. An area around each of the principal rock outcrops bearing Rock Art will be de-turfed and excavated in order to establish if there are other potentially contemporary archaeological phenomena nearby. Volunteers will get training in archaeological excavation, survey, recording and interpretation techniques.

Photo courtesy of Niall Hammond.

To view the project report please go to


Project Photos