MHG63216 - Cup and ring marked stone - Druim Mor, Swordale (16)


A cup and ring marked stone within the Scheduled Monument Area at Druim Mor, near Evanton.

Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

"In Swordale stack-yard there is a flat stone, four feet long by three broad, one side of which is covered with cup marks and other artificial hollows. It lay in a heap, with the sculptured side underneath; but Mr Joass, Dingwall, who was aware of its existence, had it turned over and its markings exposed. Mr Joass said that attention was first drawn to markings of this kind by the late Earl of Eglinton about fifty years ago… in May 1864… In September following he [Mr Joass] walked across from Dingwall to Swordale by way of Mountgerald, and on a little patch of uncultivated land, he stumbled upon an interesting specimen of a cup and ring-marked stone. He then made a search, and before he left the ground he had discovered ten specimens. Since then he had found other four or five, all within a radius of ten acres in extent, and most of them lying close together. They bear on their surface a multiplicity of markings, varying from the smallest cup to the most complicated figures." <1>

The site was written about by N MacRae in 1923. <2>

Nearby at NH 5786 6614 is a small rock outcrop bearing on its horizontal upper surface about six hollows, two of which at least appear to be cup marks, and others possibly due to weathering, if not weathered cups. Cairn and cup-marked rock surveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (A A) 1 October 1973.

No change. Visited by OS (JB) 8 November 1976.

The site was photographed from the air by R B Gourlay in 1983. <3>

Over several days between the 18th of June and the 14th of August 1987 the rocks at Swordale were subject to scale drawing and were surveyed by a team of individuals associated with the Highland Regional Council. Both R B Gourlay and D Scott conducted surveys of the stones and each created a map showing the location of sites they had recorded. <4>

Another two photographs were potentially taken at this time as part of the survey work undertaken. <5> <6>

On the 24th of July 1987, several of the stones were photographed by P R Campbell and they were photographed again on the 14th of August by L A Robertson, both of the Highland Regional Council. <7> <8> <9> <10> <11> <12> <13> <14> <15> <16> <17> <18> <19> <20> <21> <22> <23> <24> <25> <26> <27> <28> <29> <30>

On the 18th of Feburary 1991 the area including the farmstead, field system, chambered cairn and cupmarks was Scheduled. <31>

A number of stones were re-photographed by D Scott in 1992. These were stones: 5, 14, 15, 19 and 22. <32>

The whole site was re-surveyed by D Scott in 2012. At this time a total of 28 stones were identified and recorded. The stones in all descriptions have followed this numbering system. For more information, please see the attached report. <33>

Note: The GIS data for this record is based on D Scott's 2012 survey, but shapefiles are available for both of the 1987 surveys carried out by R Gourlay and D Scott for comparison.

This panel was recorded as part of the ScRAP (Scotland’s Rock Art project) by members of NoSAS in August 2017. The panel is located on the south side but close to the top of a ridge which slopes down to the east from Swordale Hill. There are extensive views to the south and east over the Cromarty Firth and Black Isle. About 600m to the north is the River Glass just above the Black Rock Gorge. The scheduled area (SM4945) used to be fenced and the outline is still visible but indistinct in places. The east-west fence line is clear and about 40m north of the panel. A Chambered Cairn (Canmore 12889) is about 75 m SSE of this panel. The panel is one of a group of 23 carved rocks all within about 250m and is the most complex of the group.

The panel is approximately semi-circular with its long axis (2.2m) oriented southwest to northeast. It is flat, smooth, low lying, and 50% overgrown with turf. The panel slopes gently to the north from a maximum height of 0.2m. There are two fissures parallel to the flat side and 31 motifs (25 single cups and 6 cup and rings) of generally uniform size. The motifs are all between the flat edge of the stone and one of the fissures. Three of the less distinct cups are in the other fissure. <34>

Sources/Archives (35)



Grid reference Centred NH 5781 6618 (9m by 9m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH56NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish KILTEARN

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (5)

External Links (4)

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