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Kilmartin Glen: Baluachraig Cup And Ring Marks

Several groups of early prehistoric cup and ring marks on natural rock faces. Close to Dunchraigaig cairn.

Kilmartin Glen: Baluachraig Cup And Ring Marks

Mysterious marks
Among the archaeological riches in Kilmartin Glen is an extraordinary array of prehistoric rock art. The designs take the form of cup-marks, cup-and-ring marks, spirals, stars and linear grooves, often densely covering large expanses of rock face. Apart from the occasional axe, the art is not representational – there are no human or animal figures. Similar prehistoric rock art is found in Scotland from Galloway to Shetland, and in Ireland, Brittany and NW Spain.

Many people have tried to read a symbolism into these cup-and-ring marks, but we can only speculate about their original significance. Such rock art is difficult to date, but it is also found in archaeological contexts such as tombs. It is clear that the potential date range is very long, from around 3500 to around 1000 BC. The Kilmartin Glen rock art, including that at Baluachraig, is likely to be around 5,000 years old.

Rock art at Baluachraig
At Baluachraig there are clusters of decoration on different parts of the rock surface. The design is relatively simple – hollows (cups) pecked out of the rock with a stone hammer, some of them surrounded by one or more rings. The overall design lacks the complex modifications that can be seen at the more upland sites in Kilmartin Glen, such as <Achnabreck>.

Highlight
  • The simplicity of the design – pleasing to the eye.

Location

Region – Central and West

1m SSE of Kilmartin off the A816.

Grid reference - 55 NR 831 969