Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

At long last I've found the time (in between potting on!) to post another entry about the prehistoric archaeology of the Kilmartin Glen.  It's my last post dedicated to the prehistoric ritual landscape in the glen itself - we've already looked at a variety of funerary monuments originating mainly in the Bronze Age, but dating back as far as the Neolithic in one instance.

Lying between Nether Largie South and the outlying Bronze Age cairn are a group of standing stones known as the Nether Largie Standing Stones (or the Lady Glassery Standing Stones).  They comprise four groups of standing stones, pictured below:-

 photo Kilmartin2013187_zpsd4d87757.jpg

These stones are just a surviving remnant of a landscape which was heavily utilised in the Bronze Age.  Geophysical survey carried out in recent years has revealed a number of further sites, including yet another cist, which indicates that these monuments also played a role in commemorating the dead.

Another interesting thing about the Nether Largie Standing Stones is the amount of rock art present.  A number of the stones have cupmarks upon them, and one, shown here, is particularly heavily marked with both cupmarks, and cup-and-ringmarks.  Standing at over 3m in height, it's a particularly impressive example of a standing stone:-

 photo b0203240-f018-4d68-8482-948bd8ebdca8_zps5ab8f0f8.jpg

Once again, the question presents itself.  Did the rock art predate the standing stone, or was the addition of the rock art part of the transformation of the stone from natural raw material to finished monument?  It's still a hot topic for debate, though I'd be inclined to opt for a later date, at least until someone shows me a framentary cupmark which has been broken during the quarrying process...

In fairly close proximity to the Nether Largie Standing Stones is the Temple Wood Stone Circle, a set of funerary monuments which were proven, by excavation, to have an extremely complicated history which involved much change and re-use.

 photo Kilmartin2013191_zps3da845c2.jpg

The first phase involved the construction of a timber circle during the late Neolithic.  This was later replaced by a stone circle.  Smaller satellite cairns were built nearby, one of which produced a Beaker and three barbed-and-tanged arrowheads, indicating a date towards the close of the Neolithic and into the Early Bronze Age.  Later on in the Bronze Age, the gaps between the standing stones were infilled and the entire monument buried beneath a large ring cairn, within which was inserted a single cist, which can be seen in the centre of the picture:-

 photo Kilmartin2013155_zps1a8ee38f.jpg

Once again, rock art is evident here.  But this is rock art with a difference.  Instead of the standard cupmarks, Temple Wood has revealed a carved spiral on one of the upright stones:-

 photo f8037b13-db07-4a9d-b79c-b64baaf39984_zps157baf59.jpg
It's not very easy to spot, but it is just visible!

This particular motif tends to get prehistorians very excited, because it's similar to the kind of patterns more often seen on Grooved Ware pottery or on early passage grave tombs like Newgrange, its presence here suggesting, perhaps, that the stone circle at Temple Wood may be extremely early in date....


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 28th, 2013 04:12 pm (UTC)
I love looking at these.

Edited at 2013-04-28 04:13 pm (UTC)
Apr. 28th, 2013 04:14 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry I've been so sparse in my posting! I'm so far behind with things!!
Apr. 28th, 2013 05:11 pm (UTC)
It looks like a fascinating site. I remember seeing a spiral on one of the stones at Long Meg and her Daughters in Cumbria.
Apr. 28th, 2013 10:00 pm (UTC)
Very interesting!
Apr. 29th, 2013 07:44 am (UTC)
Ooh! Stones!

Will be up at Kits Coty wakening Jack next weekend :o)

Leuchars and some St Andrews pics up, btw!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )