right This bird carving, probably added to one of the Calder stones in the medieval period, was spotted by a Liverpool schoolboy just four years ago.
in a very different location, standing within a low circular wall just outside the park gates at the junction of Calderstones Road and Menlove Avenue. They had been placed there in 1845 by the owner of Calderstones Mansion House, a lead-shot manufacturer called Joseph Need Walker. At that time the parkland formed part of his estate (it opened as a park in 1905), and he wanted an eye-catching feature at the entrance. Following the fashion of the day, he arranged the uprights as a stone circle, but this interpretation was not accurate: earlier records attest that the stones came from a burial mound a short distance away (its location is shown on a map of 1768). Our earliest reference to the Calder stones dates back 200 years earlier, though, when the site was mentioned in a 16th-century boundary dispute (referred to as ‘the dojer, rojer or Caldwaye stones’). There, an accompanying map shows three stones set in a roughly oval mound. What happened to this monument? Written sources testify that some of its stones were removed as early as the 16th century, but it was more seriously disturbed in the mid17th century. An account of 1825 reports that ‘digging about the stones’ uncovered urns ‘made of the coarsest clay containing human dust and bones’ – probably secondary Bronze Age cremation burials that had been inserted into the mound by later communities recognising the monument’s
: Francesca Jones photo
The Calder stones rock art
Five of the six Calder stones are marked with extensive patterns of Neolithic and Bronze Age rock art, as well as more recent graffiti (the plainer Stone F, smallest of the Calder stones, is not shown here). These markings were vividly documented during the 2007 photographic survey by Adam Stanford and George Nash, and these images are reproduced here by kind permission of the former.
The first image shows the front of Stone A, the largest of the Calder stones. On its surface you can see a series of concentric circles reflecting typically Neolithic motifs, while towards its top, in the lighter coloured area, images of two bare feet have been carved, one above the other, during the Bronze Age. The dramatic colour contrast reflects the stone being displayed outside during the Industrial Revolution, when its natural sandstone colour was covered with carbonised black. Stone A’s reverse is not pictured, but it is decorated with spirals, concentric circles, and a small number of cupmarks.
The next two images depict the right and left sides of Stone B. The former has patterns of concentric circles and Bronze Age cupmarks, while the latter shows multiple grooved lines,