AN AMATEUR archaeologist believes he has stumbled across Yorkshire’s first selfie, carved into a 4,000-year-old stone on Baildon Moor.
Gordon Holmes, from Shipley, first became interested in carved cup and ring stones on the district’s moors when his father pointed one out to him when he was about 12.
Now aged 64, retired design engineer and IT technician Mr Holmes has dedicated his life to studying the weathered ancient carvings which he believes could date to the late Stone Age.
But he says it had dawned on him recently that one carving he had been studying was of the artist himself.
“I realised that I was looking at a Stone Age selfie,” he said.
“There are many cup and ring stones around the moors, carved into millstone grit, but there are at least five such rocks with carvings representing aspects of the night sky which are on Baildon Moor.
“It seems that only Baildon Moor carvings correlated to patterns of star constellations. The other moors of Ilkley, Rivock Edge, Harden and Bingley only have the odd example of astronomical significance.
“What’s more, these five appear to have a particular style, a bit like handwriting, and I am convinced they are by the same artist.
“My father said to me all those years ago that no-one knew what the markings were, so I made it a mission to find out. I discovered the carvings showed the Pole Star, Cassiopeia, Hyades and Pleiades.
“One particular stone shows Cassiopeia, distinctive in the night sky because it forms a clear ‘W’ shape.
“It also shows a stick figure, which I presume is the artist, sitting or standing in the local landscape or round a fire with almost like a speech bubble above their head showing Cassiopeia above him. It is as if he has carved a selfie of himself,” said Mr Holmes.
“I know there could be earlier interpretations of selfies, such as those drawn in hieroglyphics by the Ancient Egyptians, but this stone carving selfie on Baildon Moor may well be the earliest example in Yorkshire.”
Mr Holmes is also interested in astronomy and has taught the subject at Bradford College.
He is also known for his search for the Loch Ness monster. In 2007 he filmed a large moving object in the loch. Almost a decade later, US-based software firm DreamFactory was able to analyse the footage and confirmed Mr Holmes’s suspicions that he had filmed a giant eel swimming in the loch.