Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

New Perspective on an Age Old Puzzle

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

New Perspective on an Age Old Puzzle

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tony Henderson

Experts have puzzled for years over the meaning of the prehistoric rock art which is spread across the North-East countryside.

Yesterday, a new interpretation of the cup and ring carvings was unveiled.

A group from the Newcastle Society for Blind People took part in a pounds 170,000 English Heritage-funded pilot project jointly managed by Northumberland and Durham County Councils, which has run over two years to record the region's rock art.

Now the group from the society have recorded it in a way that other sight-impaired people will be able to enjoy even if they can't visit the often remote locations themselves.

Over several months, the group visited a series of ancient sites including Lordenshaws in the Simonside Hills which has panoramic views over the Coquet Valley and Doddington near Wooler, and using their sense of touch, formed their own impressions of the carvings, created up to 6,000 years ago.

Using clear Perspex sheets, vivid colour and painted clay, they have created an abstract art work based on the circular patterns gouged into the rocks and their own thoughts on prehistoric life.

The work had its official launch at the society's headquarters at MEA House in Newcastle yesterday, and will be permanently displayed in the reception area.

One member of the group is Howard Cutter, 76, who lives with his wife Honoria in Westerhope, Newcastle.

He was diagnosed with glaucoma 20 years ago but was able to keep working as a motor fitter until 1993 when his sight deteriorated.

For Howard, the project was the first artwork he had tackled since his schooldays.

He said: "It was very enjoyable going up into Northumberland and actually visiting the rock carvings. It really makes you wonder what those people of thousands of years ago were like."

Gail Graham, outreach officer for English Heritage said: "Knowing something of the past enriches our own lives, and English Heritage working with its partners aims to create opportunities that make history and heritage accessible for everyone to appreciate. …

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