OS Grid Reference: SE 1315 4624. Fish Stone is a cup-marked rock on Ilkley Moor, in west Yorkshire, situated roughly halfway between Pancake Stone and Haystack Rock, and on the footpath that runs along the ridge high above Hangingstone Lane and the Cow & Calf Hotel. For want of a better, proper name, which it might have, but at the moment I can’t find it – I have given it the name: ‘Fish Stone’. It may, however, be referred to as ‘Pancake Ridge Rock’ mainly because it is located there and very near the ‘Pancake Stone’. The stone is, at a certain angle, shaped like a fish though I’m sure there are other rocks on the moor that bear that same similarity. There is the possibility that this stone has not, as yet, been recorded? However the nearest recorded cup-marked stone seems to be ‘Pancake Ridge 06’ or Boughey & Vickerman 316 which is a bit further to the southeast of ‘Fish Stone’ and close to the oddly-shaped ‘Pancake Stone’ itself. For directions to Fish Stone see the site page for ‘Haystack Rock’: https://thejournalofantiquities.com/2017/10/27/haystack-rock-ilkley-moor-west-yorkshire/
The ‘Fish Stone’ is one of three flat stones here, only the middle one having well-defined pre-historic cup-marks (petroglyphs) on its surface; if there are any on the other two stones they are now faint and worn. There looks to be around 17 cup-markings in the middle and towards the edges of the stone although the larger depression at the far side being due to weather-related erosion. Most of the cups are quite small and now fairly worn but they are still visible. There don’t appear to be any rings. But nobody seems to know what these cup-markings are meant to signify – could they be just the idle doodlings of our Bronze Age ancestors, or could they actually be maps showing stars in the night sky, or maybe maps showing burial sites, springs, settlements and other nearby carved rocks; we don’t know with any certainty, so they must therefore remain something of a mystery and ‘an enigma’. If we could travel back in time we could ask the carver of the cups-and-ring markings what he was doing, why he was doing it, and what they were meant to signify. But that’s one for the future!
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