MHG2682 - Cup marked stone - Clachmhor, Culnakirk


A cup marked stone at Clachmhor, Culnakirk.

Type and Period (1)

  • CUP MARKED STONE (Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC? to 551 BC?)

Protected Status

Full Description

'Clachmhor' lies close to the east side of the farm of Culnakirk. It is a large flat block of grey gneiss about 16' long, 9' broad and 1' thick, lying N. And S. The southern half of the stone bears 113 cup- marks up to 4 1/4" diameter and 1 1/8" in depth, many united (usually in pairs) by grooves.
There are distinct indications that this stone was once surrounded by a circle of boulders or standing stones. Several of these still remain, 2 or 3 feet in width, 15 to 17 feet apart, on the north and east sides, and from 35 to 40 feet from 'Clachmaor'. On the south- west side, the circle has been obliterated by a rough cart track. Which passes over its site.
W Jolly 1882 <1>

This stone at NH 49923109 is as described by Jolly, but no trace of any standing stones could be found.
Surveyed at 1/2500.
Visited by OS (R D) 3 December 1964

This site was visited during a walkover survey in August 2008. It was found to match the dimensions recorded in 1882, however only 37 cup-marks were noted during this survey. The stone is situated within an annual embankment, 2.2m at the thickest point, with an internal ditch. There is an apparent opening to the SE, in front of the stone's triangular apex which also faces SSE. These earthworks presumably mark the position of the supposed encircling stone ring.
It is recommended that this stone is marked out and avoided during the proposed works for a new overhead power line. <2>

Douglas Scott submitted photographs of this stone in May 2011. <3> He notes that the main concentration of cupmarks at the pointy end of the Clachmhor are in line with the entrance of the surrounding bank and this is where the southern moon rises about every 18-19 years during the moon's major standstill. There are also two lines of cupmarks forming a right angle or V shape. Each of these lines generally indicate where the midwinter sun rises and sets. Although the cupmarks are very worn, Douglas Scott counted 86. <4>

This panel was recorded as part of the ScRAP (Scotland’s Rock Art project) by members of NoSAS in August 2020. The site, which is a scheduled monument (SM 11435) lies about 25m west of the Culnakirk Burn in a field of improved pasture on the SSE facing slope overlooking the River Enrick, very near where it enters Loch Ness to the east. There is a polytunnel and house, Clachmhor, to the south and an occasionally used farm track to the west of the stone. There is a second cup marked panel beside the minor road 80m to the southwest called the Culnakirk stone. The owner of the nearby house knew of the stones presence in the field. There are several prehistoric sites in the area, a Clava type cairn to the west, hut circles lie to the north and the multiperiod site of Garbeg is about 1km to the east.

This is a large erratic boulder of gneiss, roughly triangular in shape, measuring 4.3 x 2.9m and rising up to 0.7m above the grass of the field. Around the stone there is a shallow circular ditch and bank, which was noted by Rev. Jolly in 1882 and interpreted by him as being part of a stone circle. This interpretation was not confirmed by later recorders. On the day of the visit the grass around the boulder was short and there were sheep in the field. Across the south of the stone there are over 84 cupmarks, including several curved and linear alignments, 5 ovals and 2 dumbbells. There are several fissures on the surface, a few quartz inclusions and an area of less smooth stone at the west end of the boulder. <5>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred NH 4991 3109 (10m by 10m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH43SE
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (3)

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