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The rock-art landscapes of Rombalds Moor, West Yorkshire: standing on holy ground

Deacon, Vivien (2018) The rock-art landscapes of Rombalds Moor, West Yorkshire: standing on holy ground. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This study adopts a landscape approach to all the rock-art sites on Rombalds Moor in West Yorkshire, 252 unmoved sites, to consider views of and from the sites. British rock-art is generally believed to date from the later Neolithic to the later Bronze Age, but a case is made for it perhaps beginning in the later Mesolithic. What is known of environments for the Moor over this whole period provides a basis for a reconstruction of rock-art landscapes. A case is made for the applicability of ethnography from the whole circumpolar region to the personal construction of people’s landscapes in prehistoric Britain. All sites were visited, and the sites and their views recorded, both as written records and as photographs. The data was analysed at four spatial scales, from the whole Moor down to the individual rock. Several large prominent carved rocks, interpreted as natural monuments, were found to be visible from many much smaller rock-art sites. Several clusters of rock-art sites were identified. An alignment was also identified, composed of carved stones perhaps moved into position, and other perhaps-moved carved stones were also identified. The possibility that far-distant views might be significant was also indicated by some of the findings. The physicality of carving arose as a major theme. The natural monuments are all difficult or dangerous to carve, leading to considerations of risk, including being seen to embrace risk. Conversely, the more common, simple sites mostly required the carver to kneel or crouch down. This leads to comparisons with what is known of North American rock-art, where some highly visible sites were carved by religious specialists, and others, much smaller and inconspicuous, were carved by ordinary people. This was not an expected finding for British rock-art, and further research is indicated.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Archaeology (York)
Depositing User: Ms Vivien Deacon
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2018 16:19
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2018 16:19
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21345

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