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Blackford Hill

Rock Carving (Period Unknown)

Site Name Blackford Hill

Classification Rock Carving (Period Unknown)

Canmore ID 97186

Site Number NT27SE 606

NGR NT 25372 70603

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project

Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, rock carving

Measurements: deer H 0.11m, L 0.15m

Stone type:

Place of discovery: NT 2545 7064

Present location: on rock face

Evidence for discovery: photographed in 1996 on the vertical SW face of a small rock shelter on the S side of Blackford Hill below the fort (ID 52558).

Present condition: clear pecking marks.


The outline of a deer with antlers is carved by rough pecking, and no attempt has been made to smooth the groove. Only two legs are clearly shown. The suggestion has been made that there is also a faint figure of a hunter in front of the deer. There is also a modern graffito of 1994 on the S face of the rock.

Date: seventh century?

References: DES 6 (2005), 62.

Desk-based information compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Archaeology Notes

NT27SE 606 2537 7061

Rediscovered by a member of the public on a SW facing slab of bedrock below the summit of Blackford Hill, c70m SW of the OS triangulation point, there is a carving of a deer. Measuring 11cm in length, it has horns approximately 4cm long. Information provided by S Fraser.

Information from RCAHMS (DE) 3 April 1996.

NT 2537 7061 A site visit and survey was initially carried out in July 2002, with a further visit in August 2004, to the site of a carving of a deer on a SW-facing slab of bedrock below the summit of Blackford Hill. The original NMRS entry (NT27SE 606) only described a deer carving, however, closer examination revealed a humanoid figure, possibly representing a hunter. The deer carving is very prominent compared to the human, but the latter is definitely pecked from the rock using the same technique as the deer. The deer is 145 x 107mm; the horns are 47mm and 45mm long. The

human 'hunter' figure (which is 21mm to the left of the nose of the deer) is 17 x 68mm, with legs 30mm long. It appears to be holding a weapon of sorts on its left side, possibly a representation of a bow and arrow, this being 37mm long.

M Wilson 2005


Note (13 October 2019)

Date Fieldwork Started: 13/10/2019

Compiled by: ELF

Location Notes: Located on Blackford Hill, 65m SW of the Triangulation point, there are carvings on a rock shelter found on the steep side of the remains of hillfort. The rock shelter is SSW facing with wide views of Braid Hill and Craiglockhart to the W and the path below, which is the best point of reference to find this site, as it is hidden on the steep slopes.

Panel Notes: The carving is found 0.18m from the most westerly point of a chunk of the crag, stepping along from the alcove of the fire shelter, which is 1.37m and 0.72m in aperature. It is a carving of a deer (13 x 11cm), with large swooping antlers and is likely to be historic in date.


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