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Glen Domhain

Rock Carving (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Glen Domhain

Classification Rock Carving (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Gleann Donhain

Canmore ID 22721

Site Number NM80NE 1

NGR NM 86270 09880

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Craignish
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NM80NE 1 8627 0988.

NM 864 099. An Iron Age (Thomas 1961) carving of a roe-buck 11" overall, is incised in thin sharp lines on a small inconspicuous stone on the SW slope of a possibly partly artificial mound in the mouth of a high pass in Glen Domhain. The stone is at present marked by a sherd of drain-pipe.

The carving is locally said to mark the spot where the last native reindeer stag was killed (Argyll County Council 1914).

C Thomas 1961; M Campbell and M Sandeman 1964; A D Lacaille 1954; Argyll County Council 1914.

This stone, 0.7m x 0.6m, lying flush with the ground, was located at NM 8627 0988. It lies at the SW base of a large natural hillock.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (W D J) 5 March 1970.


Field Visit (May 1987)

An animal is incised on a low earthfast boulder near the W bank of the Barbreck River in upper Gleann Domhain, 170m SSE of the ruined cottage of Blarantobair and 2.9km NE of Turnalt. The exposed face of the boulder measures about 0.65m by 0.51m, and it is only slightly inclined from the horizontal. The carving measures about 0.23m in length and 0.16m in height excluding the antlers.

The animal, which has been identified as a roebuck (1), is shown facing left, and its body and stylised legs are defined by flowing curves, while the neck is straight-sided and the head has an elongated triangular muzzle. A pair of branching antlers rise from the back of the head, but an oblique line in front of them is probably a natural groove. The narrow triangle indicating the tail is set low on the rump and may be a later addition (2). There are no other markings of certainly artificial origin on the stone.

This carving has been identified, because of its naturalistic qualities, as of Neolithic date (3), but the outline has been incised with a sharp tool and is comparatively unweathered, while there is no indication of later recutting. A prehistoric date seems unlikely and it may be fairly recent in origin, perhaps associated with Blarantobair or one of the other small settlements to the N.

RCAHMS 1992, visited May 1987.


(1) PSAS 98, 215-16; ibid 316; Campbell and Sandeman, 37, no. 263. It had previously been identified as a reindeer (ACC List, 12) and a ‘hind’ (Childe, VG in Antiquity 15, 290). Morris describes it as a ‘deer’.

(2) PSAS 98, 215

(3) Childe, loc.cit., followed by Lacaille, The Stone Age in Scotland (1954), 243.

Note (22 June 2020)

Date Fieldwork Started: 22/06/2020

Compiled by: ScRAP

Location Notes: The carving is situated in rough grazing towards the base of on a SW facing hillslope in the bottom of Glen Domhain about 40m NW of the river, at the mouth of a pass. Several duns are visible on the surrounding hills to the S and E.

Panel Notes: This small schist outcrop measures 0.7 x 0.4m and rises to 0.2m above the surrounding ground level, although the surface slopes quite steeply to the S and the carving is partly hidden beneath turf (and water, at the time of this visit). The outline of a deer facing left (NE) is incised towards the S base of the outcrop. The incisions are marrow, quite deep, and V shaped as if made with a sharp tool. The deer is stylised, and features an elongated, pointed muzzle with bioccular eyes, three lines (two of which are branched at the tips) representing antlers, a thick neck, rounded slightly raised hind quarters, hind legs joined and tapering, front legs open and each represented by a single line. The deer also has a slightly triangular short tail represented by two lines joining at the tip.


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