OS Grid Reference: SE 13468 46176. Fish Stone is a cup-marked rock on Ilkley Moor, in west York-shire, located close to Pancake Stone, 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’. However, I “now” know it to be called ‘Pancake Ridge 14’ because it is to be found on that ridge of high ground and opposite the curiously shaped ‘Pancake Stone’, which also has some cup-markings on its top surface. 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. The stone has been recorded by Boughey & Vickerman as (338) and by Era as (Era-2564). For directions to the Fish Stone (Pancake Ridge 14) please 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 a some of these may be natural as is the depression at the far side which is due to 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!
Sources and related websites:-
© Ray Spencer, The Journal of Antiquities, 2019.