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between 12:00 Friday 15th December and 12:00 Monday 18th December


Cairnbaan 1

Cup And Ring Marked Rock (Neolithic) - (Bronze Age)

Site Name Cairnbaan 1

Classification Cup And Ring Marked Rock (Neolithic) - (Bronze Age)

Canmore ID 39586

Site Number NR89SW 3

NGR NR 83991 91023

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilmichael Glassary
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes ( - 1977)

NR89SW 3 8398 9104.

NR 838 910. Cups, cup-and-ring marks on sheets of rock.

M Campbell and M Sandeman 1964; J Y Simpson 1868.

NR 8397 9104. Three cup and ring marked rocks in the care of D of E, within an iron railing.

A, measuring 8.0m x 2.0m bears 5 cup and ring marks

and over 50 cups, and radial grooves.

B, previously un-noted, measures 3.5m x 2.0m and bears 5 cups.

C, measuring 2.6m x 2.0m bears 3 cup and ring marks and 4 cups.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (DWR) 1 May 1973.

NR 8399 9104. Three cup-and-ring marked rocks as described in the report of 1 May 1973.

Surveyed at 1/10,000.

Visited by OS (BS) 1 April 1977.


Field Visit (June 1985)

On high ground to the N of the Cairnbaan Inn there are two groups of cup-and-ring markings (Campbell and Sandeman 1964).

Situated within a metal railing there are three cup-and-ring marked rock outcrops. The decoration on the largest rock-sheet comprises a pair of cups surrounded by three partial rings, one cup with two rings, three cups within a single ring, sixteen single cups with single rings, at least sixty plain cups, and several lengths of grooving. A particular feature of this rock-sheet are the long gutters that run downslope from seven of the cups at the S end of the outcrop.

On a rock outcrop which lies towards the centre of the enclosure there are six plain cupmarks, and another outcrop at the NW of the enclosure bears three cups with double rings and six plain cups (Campbell and Sandeman 1964; Morris 1977).

Visited June 1985


Publication Account (1985)

The two rocks are extensively decorated with cup-markings, many with encircling rings with distinct grooves; several cups are enclosed within larger ovals. The first sheet is within a fenced enclosure on the east side of a wall, the second is on the other side of the wall about 100m to the west. The second sheet contains a profusion of cup-and-ring markings in several cases with four encircling rings, and the figures arranged in putting groups. The markings are particularly crisp in late afternoon sunlight, a time when the views across the Crinan canal and down to Lochgilphead are also impressive.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Argyll and the Western Isles’, (1985).

Note (22 July 2019)

Date Fieldwork Started: 22/07/2019

Compiled by: ScRAP

Location Notes: The panel is situated within a fenced area of grass about 20x20m, managed by Historic Environment Scotland, containing several areas of exposed bedrock and a large upstanding boulder. At least two other rock surfaces within this enclosure are carved (Cairnbaan 2 and 3, although only one of these is currently exposed. Cairnbaan 1 is on the S side of the enclosure on ground that slopes gently to the SE. The surrounding terrain is undulating, rising gently to the NW and sloping to the S down towards the A83 road. There are a series of pronounced rock ridges running NE-SW along the hillside. There are clear views along Kilmartin Glen to the SE towards Lochgilphead and NE towards Kilmichael Glassary. Crinan canal lies in the valley to the S about 70m away but is not visible., whereas the woodland containing the carvings at Achnabrek is visible to the E on the opposite side of the valley. The carved stone of Cairnbaan 3 lies about 70m to the NW, uphill and through a gate in the stone dyke.

Panel Notes: The panel is an elongated stretch of exposed schist bedrock flush with the ground, measuring 6.1x19m, with its long axis orientated N-S. The surface is glacially smoothed and undulating, with a more steeply sloping S end. There panel surface is segmented by numerous natural fissures, mainly running N-S along its long axis, and occasionally diagonally across. Some are widened to form natural hollows, and there are some glacial striations running E-W across part of the surface. The motifs are frequently framed by and sit within segments of rock bounded by natural fissures. The main area of carving is along the centre of the panel, as it slopes gently to the E. The carvings comprise at least 35 individual cupmarks, 8 cups with radials all of which run downwards to the E into the turf or into natural fissures. In addition there are 4 cups with single rings, 6 cups with single rings and radials (one of these is a pennanular) running downwards to the E, 2 pairs of cups with radials enclosed within a groove, a cup with 2 rings, and a number of sinuous grooves. At least one of the natural fissures appears to have been enhanced. The keyhole motif noted on the interpretation panel is not evident in the 3D model.


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