The thriller of the Nessglyph riddle continues to elude archaeologists, they usually’ve now requested public intervention and assist. The curious rock carving on a bit of crimson sandstone, discovered final summer time throughout excavations at Nesscliffe Hillfort, has been dated to the Iron Age – roughly 500 BC. It has a peculiar round form intersected with straight strains which were carved with a steel implement. It creates an outline of a horned determine holding one thing in its grip.
Roman Occupation and Stays
The positioning could be very attention-grabbing as a result of it has additionally been marked by Roman occupation in a while in its historical past, evidenced by a good quantity of Roman home and military pottery from the 2nd century AD.
Loads of valuable finds have been misplaced because of the heavy acidic nature of the soil. In reality, the very website the place the glyph was discovered had been explored within the Fifties after which backfilled, stories native each day My Shrewsbury .
Attributable to an absence of care within the backfill of the excavation trench inside the guard chamber of the doorway, it has been much more tough to determine and decipher the glyph. For this reason the decision has been put out for any member of the general public to assist resolve the puzzle or examine it with anything they’ve seen earlier than.
The stone bearing the picture was uncovered throughout a dig at Nesscliffe Hill in summer time 2022. (Shropshire Council )
The 2022 dig had been led by Gary Lock, Emeritus Professor of Archaeology on the College of Oxford. Main the excavations, he thought the hillfort was constructed for show and neighborhood use, together with celebrations and ceremonies, reasonably than for protection.
“We expect the hillfort was constructed in all probability extra for show (reasonably than navy functions) – to impress the neighbors!”, he supplied. The positioning had been described as a website of ‘nationwide significance’, seemingly serving the farming communities of the realm.
A Horned Deity Cult?
“The round cup form and the straight strains are indicative of two various kinds of expertise, grinding and carving. We are able to speculate that the Nessglyph is figurative, with the cup mark being the top. It has two lengthy horns and two small horns, a central physique line and two arms, one held up and the opposite down, the upward one displaying a attainable hand holding a pipe or a weapon,” supplied Paul Reilly, a visiting fellow in archaeology on the College of Southampton.
The Nessglyph is a horned humanoid determine, probably holding a weapon or pipe. ( Shropshire Council )
Reilly additional defined that it has been tough to search out any parallels from the Iron Age , however the carving is analogous with Late Bronze Age carvings of figures in horned helmets. Nesscliffe lies inside the purported territory of Cornovii, a reputation instructed in reference to the ‘horned ones’. What’s attention-grabbing is that the Roman military had a horned deity cult, which has been depicted at a number of navy websites throughout Britain – maybe there’s a deeper connection to that.
Additional examination revealed the round cup form and the straight strains to be indicative of two various kinds of expertise – grinding and carving, in line with the web site of the Shropshire Council . There are alternate theories floating concerning the Stone Age ‘cup marks’ – probably utilized by Druids for blood-sacrifices, or marked by the rising and setting of the solar. Maybe nonetheless, they had been meaningless doodles?
The archaeological dig is the results of a number of years of earlier work by Shropshire Council together with habitat administration, website safety measures, photographic evaluation and geophysical surveys.
Rob Gittins, Shropshire Council’s Cupboard member for tradition and digital, concluded by saying, “This is a chance for folks with an curiosity in our historical past to get entangled and assist resolve the thriller of the Nessglyph. Nesscliffe Hill Fort has been giving up attention-grabbing finds for various years and it’s fascinating studying about our county’s wealthy historical past, particularly when it results in a puzzle equivalent to this.”
Prime picture: The stone, now referred to as the Nessglyph, has a round cup form and is marked with straight strains carved with a steel implement, wanting like a horned deity from the Roman military. Supply: Shropshire Council
By Sahir Pandey