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Johnstone, Craigston Wood

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

Site Name Johnstone, Craigston Wood

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

Canmore ID 43233

Site Number NS46SW 9

NGR NS 43606 61683

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Glasgow, City Of
  • Parish Paisley (City Of Glasgow)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District City Of Glasgow
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS46SW 9 4361 6168.

(NS 4361 6168) Cup & Ring marked Rock (NR)

OS 1:10000 map (1973)

A group of cup and ring marks are sculptured on a sandstone outcrop, about 9sq ft in size and sloping at an angle of about 30 degrees, situated in Craigston Wood, at about 280ft OD. The cups vary from 2 to 2 1/2ins in diameter, while the rings vary from 6 1/2ins to a maximum of 8 1/2ins in diameter.

J Kirkwood 1938

These five cup and ring marks are as illustrated by Kirkwood.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 25 November 1964

At this site there are 4 cups-and-one-ring, 3 with long wavy gutters running downhill from the cups, two lines parallel to one gutter, and two cups.

R W B Morris and D C Bailey 1967

Now much disfigured by graffiti.

Visited by RCAHMS (JBS) 18 April 1985


Note (10 September 2019)

Date Fieldwork Started: 10/09/2019

Compiled by: ACFA South Glasgow

Location Notes: The panel is located on the W side of Auchenlodment Road, Johnstone, as it climbs up to Craigston Wood. Soon after leaving housing, the woodland encloses the road on either side and there is a sharp left turning hairpin bend, which marks the former entrance to the Spout Quarry and Craigenfeoch Pit No. 1 which were sited on left side of this road. From the bend continue a further 88m to where the Craigston rock can be accessed, lying about 20m from the road in the woodland.

The outcrop lies in open mature deciduous woodland with its long axis running N-S, and would formerly have had an extensive view to the N and NE only, across the Clyde Valley to the Kilpatrick Hills. It lies in a natural dip in an area extensively quarried and mined in the past for coal, sand and limestone - with Spout Quarry downslope to the N, Craigenfeoch Quarry upslope to the S and various old pit shafts indicated in the vicinity. There is evidence of quarrying around the outcrop and on the outcrop itself. A circular depression 22m downslope to the N has evidence of a quarried scarp (see location plan) and there is a strong indication that quarrying activity has removed lengths of the E side and, at the lower N end of the outcrop, the prow has been cut away, possibly with the loss of some carvings. There is also a low bank which encloses the outcrop to the E, between it and the road, it is 15m long by 2m width. From the NW foot of the outcrop a further bank extends for 18m towards the circular depression note above. Previous entries are as below and an excellent earlier entry may be found on the web site of The Northern Antiquarian under the name of 'Craigenfeoch' from a site visit in December 2016.

Panel Notes: The panel as currently exposed is a large, domed sandstone outcrop measuring 9.1m N-S x 4.0m E-W. The S upper end of the panel appears to have extended further in Morris's 1981 description and image to 11.0m N-S, but is now covered by scrub and turf. This is indicated in the location plan, and the current survey estimated that the outcrop may continue to the S for another 10.0m as part of a larger ovoid outcrop measuring 22.0m x 12.0m which has been quarried to the limits of the exposed hump-backed rock. The exposed section of the panel slopes steeply from a quarried edge along the E length, its highest point at 1.4m, to ground level on its W edge which is now heavily overgrown by a thicket of low tree growth. The E edge of the panel carries a cleavage ledge and cuts suggesting quarry activity. On the W side, a track leads down from the upper wood and the ground then rises again obscuring further views to the W. The smooth undulating surface of the exposed outcrop is fissured with fine lines of stress features, including a main fissure running from the upper E edge down to the NW edge, where there has been partial dislodgement of a fragment by natural or human activity. A further feature on the panel on the N side of the fissure is a branch-like narrow channel 2.0m long x 80mm wide x 65mm depth, probably of geological origin but perhaps an artefact of later industrial quarrying activity. Its exposure begins on the upper E quadrant, is interrupted by natural rock, then re-emerges before petering out on the lower W side.

The main cluster of motifs is located on the N side of the main fissure, on a higher slightly sloping area close to the quarried E edge, and just as the outcrop begins to tip down to the W edge. Only 1 possible cupmark is sited to the S of the fissure. A central group of 3 prominent cup and single ring motifs, accompanied by a group of cupmarks, lies between the large fissure and the 'branch' feature. This group of cup and rings (A, B and C on the panel sketch) are as recorded, with incised grooves running from C to B as confirmed by Morris as later graffiti and only the actual cup of C may be original. Two further cup and rings (E) and (F) have possible radial grooves, one running from motif E to a small fissure, the other running from motif F towards the NE panel edge. A single cupmark lies to the SE of this motif. There is a cluster of 7 cupmarks S of the A, B ,C cup nd ring motifs and near to the major fissure. Three of these have possible partial rings or arcs. Down-slope from this cluster is a single isolated cupmark adjacent to the N side of the fissure, marked on the panel sketch.

A 'fan' of five lines running to the entrance of the natural 'branch' channel has been recorded by some commentators. These could not be seen, but a 'fan' of channels can be seen on the panel sketch where indicated in low light from the NW foot of the in lower area. These seem to proceed from a central 'drill' point and seem to be either natural stress cracks or the result of human quarrying activity. The panel has been painted with initials, now faded and probably from the 1960-70's, These are recorded where decipherable on the panel sketch. Two incised graffiti are cut into the slab - the initials 'SD' and an arrow are carved below the cup and ring group and pointing up the slope.

Images of the panel are available from 1934 ("Notes on Cup and Ring Markings at Craigenfeoch, Refrewshire" Kirkwood J. Transactions of Glasgow Archaeological Society, 9.2 (New Series 1938) and from 1960 (" The Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland Morris Ronald W.B. p94-95 BAR 86 1981). These indicate the degree of graffiti added between 1934, 1960, and are updated in current Sketch Plan in 2019.


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