Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Craiglea, ring-marked boulder 440m WNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Westhill and District, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.1643 / 57°9'51"N

Longitude: -2.5221 / 2°31'19"W

OS Eastings: 368519

OS Northings: 808281

OS Grid: NJ685082

Mapcode National: GBR X1.KJZ9

Mapcode Global: WH8PD.7673

Entry Name: Craiglea, ring-marked boulder 440m WNW of

Scheduled Date: 19 December 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12174

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cupmarks or cup-and-ring marks and similar rock art

Location: Midmar

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Westhill and District

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a boulder bearing a single ring-mark or prehistoric rock art motif of likely late-Neolithic or Bronze-Age date. It survives as a shallow, elongated circular groove on the top surface of an isolated boulder, which is surrounded by rough grazing. The boulder is located on a NW-facing slope on the SE side of Strathdon at approximately 175m above sea level, with a clear view to Bennachie 15km to the north.

The visible portion of the earthfast boulder is roughly cube-shaped (0.6m wide by 0.6m long by 0.6m high) with a relatively flat upper surface. The surrounding soil is relatively thin with some shallow outcrops visible 200m to the south-east, however this boulder is isolated. The ring-mark is centred on the boulder's top surface or panel and is clearly visible at a low oblique angle, despite lichens and mosses obscuring much of the surface. It covers an area of approximately 19cm by 18cm externally with the groove approximately 6cm wide by less than 1cm deep. In several places, you can see the individual peckmarks that were used to create the groove.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

This is a well-preserved, rock-art motif, retaining many of the tooling marks that define its relatively uncommon shape and form. It has the potential to tell us more about the types of design used in prehistoric rock art and how they were carved. Buried deposits relating to the monument may well survive at the site and these can help explain more about the history of its creation, use and function.

Contextual characteristics

Ring-marks set into the surfaces of outcrops, boulders and earthfast stones are part of a broader group of around 1600 examples of abstract prehistoric motifs found across Scotland. The main concentration of this broader group generally follows the main concentrations of contemporary ritual and ceremonial monuments, such as stone circles or burial monuments, and this is particularly so in Strathdon where about one third of the 60 or so motifs found here appear to be associated with recumbent stone circles. The densest concentrations of the wider class are largely found in Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute, Perthshire, eastern Caithness and the Orkney Islands. Ring-marks are one of the ten or so main designs and are often components of composite motifs which might include cups, rings, concentric circles, straight or radial grooves and spirals. Unlike the relatively common and widespread cup- and ring-marked stones, individual ring-marks are relatively rare and examples barely numbering in double figures are known about in Scotland. This monument has the potential to reveal more about the placement and setting of rock art within a landscape, as well as its function. As such, it can contribute to the understanding of regional identity and society in the prehistoric period.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the use and significance of rock art in prehistoric society and the role it plays with other contemporary ritual, funerary and domestic monuments in the wider landscape. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand and appreciate the prehistoric landscape of NE Scotland, as well as Scotland as a whole.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NJ60NW 93.


RCAHMS 2007, IN THE SHADOW OF BENNACHIE: THE FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY OF DONSIDE, ABERDEENSHIRE, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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