The browser you are using is out of date and is no longer supported. To view and use this site correctly, please update your browser to the latest version.

We're changing

We have created a new public body, Historic Environment Scotland. While we work on shaping our future we can reassure you that all services and products will continue as normal. Please follow our progress and find out more about our new organisation.

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>.

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


Region – Central and West

1m SSE of Kilmartin off the A816.

Grid reference - 55 NR 831 969