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Mull, Scoor

Cave (Period Unassigned), Cross Incised Rock (Early Medieval), Cup Marked Rock (Prehistoric)

Site Name Mull, Scoor

Classification Cave (Period Unassigned), Cross Incised Rock (Early Medieval), Cup Marked Rock (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) Scoor Cave

Canmore ID 21977

Site Number NM41NW 5

NGR NM 4179 1865

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilfinichen And Kilvickeon
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NM41NW 5 4179 1865.

(NM 4179 1865) Cave (NR)

OS 1:10000 map (1976)

Rock-carvings, Scoor: At the head of a narrow inlet on the rocky shore 550m SSW of Scoor there is a cave measuring 4m in width at the mouth by 15m in depth; the maximum height of the roof is about 8m. Both walls of the cave are profusely decorated with symbols, which are found at heights of from 0.4m to 1.8m above the floor.

Most of the loose stones that constitute the floor of the cave have, however, fallen from the walls in comparatively recent times, no doubt destroying other symbols in the process, and it is likely that the original floor-level was at least 0.5m lower than the present one.

About sixty of the markings are small circular or oval depressions, which make no formal pattern, sometimes occurring in groups and at other times singly along each wall; about half of them are cup-shaped, measuring on average 50mm in diameter and 10mm in depth, and are indistinguishable from prehistoric cup-markings; many of the others, however, are conical rather than hemispherical in section, measuring up to 90 mm across and 50 mm in depth, and in some cases appear to have been enlarged, if not actually made, in comparatively recent times. The remainder of the symbols comprise a motif closely resembling a small labyrinth device, a trident and some eighteen linear incised crosses, including plain Latin and Greek crosses, crosses with expanded, barred or bifid terminals, and ringed crosses.

The crosses are generally similar to those found in the Nuns' Cave (NM52SW 1), and may reflect occupation of the cave in the Early Christian period, probably in the late 6th - 9th centuries. No parallel has been found for the trident motif but it probably belongs to the later, rather than to the earlier, series of carvings.

RCAHMS 1980, visited 1974


Field Visit (23 April 1974)

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (DWR) 23 April 1974

Reference (2001)

Cave in vertically-bedded schistose rocks above shore. The walls bear about eighteen linear crosses, some with expanded, barred or forked terminals, as well as single horseshoe and trident symbols and numerous cupmarks.

I Fisher 2001.


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