MHG63240 - Cup marked stone - Druim Mor, Swordale (13)


A cupmarked stone within the Scheduled Monument Area at Druim Mor, near Evanton.

Type and Period (1)

  • CUP 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 April 2019. The panel is one of a number of carved rocks scattered across an area of very rough ground with many low rock outcrops and a number of archaeological features, including several other rock art panels, a chambered cairn and a deserted farmstead, associated buildings and field system. The ground has not been cultivated for a long time, possibly since the settlement was deserted around 200 years ago. Today it is occasionally grazed by sheep and cows, but is mainly rough grass. The panel is situated on the south facing slope at the east end of Swordale Hill overlooking Strathsgitheach, about 1.5m northeast of Druim Mor 12, 21m southwest of Druim Mor 9 and 14m east of Druim Mor 11. It is surrounded by the low, degraded banks of the cultivation patches of the old settlement but has not been moved. All these panels lie within a large area protected by the Scheduled Monument 4945 Drumore, Farmstead, field system, chambered cairn and cup marks. The panel has been recorded previously and a report lodged with Highland Council under the HER number MHG 14145.

The panel was almost covered with turf, and was uncovered for the recording then recovered. It is a small triangular schist outcrop, measuring 0.9m long by 0.6m wide and rising 0.2m above the ground, sloping very gently to the southwest. There are 2 cup marks on the N part of the surface. <34>

NGR adjusted based on 2021 vertical aerial photographs. <35>

Sources/Archives (35)



Grid reference Centred NH 5777 6618 (8m 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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