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Kilmartin Glen: Kilmichael Glassary Cup And Ring Marks

Early prehistoric cup and ring carvings of Kilmartin Glen

Kilmartin Glen: Kilmichael Glassary 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 north-west 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 about 3500 to about 1000 BC. The Kilmartin Glen rock art, including that at Kilmichael Glassary, is likely to be around 5,000 years old.

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


Facilities

Strong Footwear Recommended

Location

Region – Central and West

The site is located near the schoolhouse, Kilmichael Glassary off the A816.

Grid reference
NR 857934.