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Field Visit

Date May 1984

Event ID 546011

Category Recording

Type Field Visit


On rising ground to the N of Achnabreck farmhouse there are three cup-and-ring marked rock outcrops. The largest forms the most extensive and impressive group of prehistoric rock-carvings in Scotland (Campbell and Sandeman 1964, no. 201; PSAS 103, 33-56.).

(1) The major group of cup-and-ring markings is situated in an enclosure at the edge of a forestry plantation 350m N of Achnabreck farmhouse (Morris 1974). The undulating surface of the rounded outcrop is partially overgrown, and the decoration occurs as three discrete exposures which are here described from SW to NE.

The largest exposure lies at the foot of the enclosure and comprises three clusters of markings. Towards the lower end of the sheet there is a group dominated by multi-ringed and guttered cups (with up to seven rings) accompanied by an extensive network of grooves and, close to the base, a line of four exceptionally large plain cupmarks. At the centre of the sheet there is another group of multi-ringed cups and, higher up the outcrop, there is a third cluster of multi-ringed cupmarks.

The middle group is the smallest of the three decorated exposures. At the centre lies one of the largest cup-and-ring markings in Scotland, measuring up to 0.97m in diameter over the outermost of its seven rings, and it is accompanied on the S by a cup with a quadrant of three rings. To the NE and SE there are other multi-ringed cups, one of which has two central cupmarks, and all have well-defined gutters extending southwards from their cups. In addition to the larger marks there are several single-ringed cups and plain cupmarks.

The carvings on the upper sheet, which are concentrated at its N end with only a peripheral scatter elsewhere, comprise cups (some with gutters) and up to six rings, large numbers of plain cups, lengths of grooving (several of which form enclosures), and some modern graffiti. Amongst the concentration of carvings at the higher (N) end of the outcrop, there are two double spirals, one triple spiral, and several multiple rings (lacking central cups), which are of special interest (for further discussion, see the Introduction). These markings are badly weathered and worn, and in some instances they are overlain by other carvings; it is probable, therefore, that they represent an early phase of carving on the outcrop, predating the majority of the other cups and rings.

RCAHMS 1988, visited May 1984

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