A retired silversmith discovered the largest collection of ancient rock art ever found in the Highlands. The discovery was made in Scotland on a remote hill overlooking the Cromarty Firth. The ancient carved rocks were discovered scattered across a hillside near Evanton in Ross-shire, some measuring almost 10 feet across.
Amateur archaeologist Douglas Scott who recorded the phenomenal find said he believes the “cup-marked” rocks – dating from up to 5,000 years ago to the Neolithic or Bronze Age – form part of a “ritual centre of some significance.” It is believed that the ancient people worshipped the sun and performed traditional rites connected to the underworld.
The 64-year-old Scott, from Tain, has discovered and recorded a total of 28 carved rocks. He had noted his remarkable find with the Highland Historic Environment Record and the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments. Scott explained that farmers first started discovering carved stones with hollow cup-marks embedded in them from as far back as 1985. Bob Gourlay, a Highland regional archaeologist now deceased, also recorded and photographed another 14 cup-marked rocks on the ridge.
Despite Gourlay’s demise, Scott continued the task of searching the hills and has now recorded and photographed 28 carved rocks across the site.
Scott said, “The finding of up to 28 cup-marked rocks on Druim Mor makes this the largest concentration of cup-marked stones so far found in the north of Scotland. Cup-marked stones are not unique but this is the biggest concentration found in this area and that is quite significant in itself because no-one knew these monuments were up there.”
The carvings on the rocks discovered are anywhere between 4,000 to 5,000 years old and comprise of hollows, rings and grooves which all line up to where the sun rises in midwinter. Cup marks can reportedly be found throughout Europe and are associated with carvings of the sun, solar chariots and boats, the latter of which is believed to carry souls of the dead to the underworld.