Sheriffmuir Carving, Dunblane, Stirlingshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 83074 02143

Getting Here

From Dunblane, head up the Glen Road for nearly a mile, turning left up the Sheriffmuir Road and all the wya on till you reach the pub near the T-junction another couple of miles on.  OK – get thru the gate and onto the moor, roughly in a straight line with the pub behind you for about 400 yards.  You’re damn close! (if you find the nice standing stone known as the Wallace Stone, walk  250 yards southwest from here).

Archaeology & History

Almost nothing has been written of this cup-marked stone, found at the southern end of what’s alleged to be an authentic megalithic stone row alignment, running northeast to southwest — although this alignment isn’t included in either Aubrey Burl’s (1993) or Alexander Thom’s (1990) textbooks dealing with such matters.

Cup-marks highlighted in ice!

Cup-marked rock with the Wallace Stone in the distance

When we came here last winter in temperatures of around -6°C (one helluva good day!), curiously only this and the other stones along this “stone row” were actually uncovered on the moorland.  Quite bizarre to be honest!  Many of the other rocks scattering this small moorland edge were covered in several feet of snow.  We were lucky I s’ppose…though I’ve gotta get back up here again shortly and see the site in summertime (midges up mi crotch, cleggs-a-biting – oh such joy!) cos I can’t believe this is the only cup-marked stone hereby.

The rock itself is more than seven-feet long and has at least twenty archetypal cups carved into its slightly-slanting face — although when we visited the stone, several of these were difficult to see and, as the images show, even more difficult to photograph (of the 20 I took of this stone alone, only one was of any value in highlight the cups) .  The stone gave the impression that it may have stood upright in the not-too-distant past — which would of course give the notion of this as part of megalithic avenue a considerably more potent status.

Some dood alleged that this potential stone row, with this cup-marked stone at its southwestern end, marked an astronomical alignment — but for the life of me I can’t remember who it was! (it’s my age creeping up on me at last!)

References:

  1. Burl, Aubrey, From Carnac to Callanish: The Prehistoric Stone Rows and Avenues of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press 1993.
  2. Heggie, Douglas C., Megalithic science: ancient mathematics and astronomy in north-west Europe, Thames & Hudson: London 1981.
  3. Thom, A., Thom, A.S. & Burl, Aubrey, Stone Rows and Standing Stones – 2 volumes, B.A.R.: Oxford 1990.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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About megalithix

Prehistorian and independent archaeological researcher, specializing in prehistoric rock art, Neolithic, Bronze Age & Iron Age sites, and the animistic cosmologies of pre-Christian & traditional cultures.
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