Normally, when archaeological news reaches us, scientists already have their explanations and analyzes about the objects found. Sometimes, however, the find is so mysterious that it even needs a little help from the popular imagination — as is the case of the glyph found recently in England, which has puzzled researchers. Could it be that you, the reader, cannot give a sure suggestion for the riddle?
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The early art in question was found while excavating the Nesscliffe Hill archaeological site, and was carved into a red sandstone rock. She was nicknamed “Nessglyph” (Nessglyph, in the original). As there is still no certainty about the meaning of the representation, the responsible team turned to the public to try to find plausible hypotheses.
How is the mysterious art?
The discovery consists of a hollow circle in the rock, adorned with a few straight lines in different directions. Apparently, the grooves were made with some kind of metal instrument, although archaeologists don’t know what it was, or who, or why. All we know is that the site was once home to a fortified hill in the Iron Age, later occupied by the Romans.
Excavations at Nesscliffe Hill began in 2019, but the glyph was only found after numerous visits. It was in a pit, originally mined in the 1950s and later reburied. The circular shape, like a cup, and the straight lines indicate 2 different types of technology: grinding and carving.
Scientists speculate that the artwork is figurative, with the cup-shaped mark being the head and the scratches being the limbs. There are 2 long horns and 2 smaller horns, the centerline of a body and arms, one up and one down. The one pointing upwards might be showing a hand carrying a pipe or a gun.
Since the suggestions were opened to the public, however, several interesting theories have emerged. One is to turn the stone upside down, revealing a pregnant woman. Others talk about the nature of the weapon held by the figure, which could also be a tool, or a bow and arrow.
The Nesscliffe region is in the supposed territory of the Cornovii, the name of a people believed to refer to the “horned ones”. There is also a likely connection with the cult of a horned deity or entity by the Roman army, who used to perform rituals and sacrifices to acquire favors in battle. This has been depicted on numerous military sites across England.
As it has not yet been possible to solve the mystery, archaeologists remain open to suggestions and help from the public, who are free to speculate about the Nessglyph and inform them of their guesses. His contacts are Paul Reilly at [email protected] and Gary Lock at [email protected]. Good luck with the theories!
Source: Shropshire Town Hall