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

Site Name Drumfad

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

Canmore ID 41455

Site Number NS28SE 6

NGR NS 29063 84568

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Rhu
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Dumbarton
  • Former County Dunbartonshire

Archaeology Notes

NS28SE 6 2905 8457.

A sculptured boulder of schist is situated at an altitude of c.450ft above sea level; a hundred yards SE of the gate on the "Highlandman's Road"; a short distance east of the upper part of Ardencaple Wood; and close to the Glennan Burn. The boulder, presumably an ice-carried one, is about 5ft in height, and 48ft in girth, making a prominent landmark, and has many well-preserved cups, rings, and other markings on its surface. These sculpturings have been preserved under the guidance of Mr L M Mann. An attempt to break up the boulder resulted in it being split into four unequal parts.

A D Lacaille 1924

NS 2905 8456. A boulder, measuring c.5m by 3m by 1.4m high, now broken into four irregular parts. The stone is much weathered and moss grown, but a number of cupmarks, 1 ins, in diameter by 1/2 in deep, are visible.

Visited by OS (DS) 25 September 1956

This boulder is generally as described above. Roughly a dozen small cup-marks are visible, one of which a trial drill-hole. No traces of any rings were noted; there are other (modern) markings on the boulder. Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 15 January 1963

NS 290 845 In 1923 a number of cup-and-ring marks were seen on this large boulder, but only cup-marks are now visible.


A D Lacaille 1924; R W B Morris 1966


Field Visit (2016)

NS 29599 84566 A prominent boulder marked with cup and rings was surveyed by Lacaille in 1924 when he recorded 57 cups with at least 8 rings. The present survey only detected 35 cups, 3 with single rings, and 2 with the remains of double and triple rings respectively. Modern graffiti was

also recorded. The attrition of the stone is due to weathering and the effects of people walking on its surface. A limited excavation was carried out around the stone and a fractured part of it was returned to its proper position. The society has placed an interpretative panel beside the stone to explain its presence and hopefully to deter any further climbing upon it.

Report: NRHE, WoSAS and on


Sponsors: Luss Estates Company and Foundation Scotland

Sandra Kelly – North Clyde Archaeological Society

(Source: DES, Volume 17)

Note (30 April 2018)

Date Fieldwork Started: 30/04/2018

Compiled by: ACFA North Glasgow

Location Notes: The site of this enormous stone is N of Helensburgh, and can be reached by a footpath running Northwards through Ardencaple Wood, and alongside Glenann Burn. This burn flows generally in a NNW to SSE direction, but turns a little more to the W just before the site of the rock, which is situated in a cleared area in the wood. The rock sits on a number of smaller but still substantial boulders, with Glenann Burn lying immediately to the W of it. The route of the foot-path continues in a N - S direction, and the rock is some 10 m to its W, . The course of the burn is c. 1 m below the ground on which the boulder rests, and on its W side a fence runs almost due N. An interpretation panel is close to the footpath, and SE of the rock. Otherwise, the previous notes from Canmore appear generally accurate.

Panel Notes: The stone has 4 sections, having been shattered by an explosive (the drill holes for which are still quite obvious). Each section has clearly visible marks, though the fourth section has one possible cup. No rings could be spotted on the panel by the naked eye, but became evident in the 3D image. In addition, there are signs of graffiti damage. The whole boulder lies on top of other smaller boulders, and there has been some speculation that it may have served as a capstone, perhaps for a shelter. However, any space beneath the boulder has been largely filled in by soil, and is quite inaccessible. The overall rock has a length of almost 6 m and a width approaching 5 m. It has a maximum height of 1 m, and resting on other boulders at it is, it has a height above ground level of 0.5 m. The orientation of this sandstone rock is N - S, as is the carved surface. It has a smooth and rounded appearance. There is a total 24 cup marks noted, but with no conspicuous pattern to them.

It was not possible to create a single model for the entire panel, so there are separate models for each of the 4 sections:

Drumfad 1:

Drumfad 2:

Drumfad 3:

Drumfad 4:


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