Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Tulloch, cupmarks 335m south west of

A Scheduled Monument in Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.186 / 57°11'9"N

Longitude: -3.0343 / 3°2'3"W

OS Eastings: 337578

OS Northings: 811052

OS Grid: NJ375110

Mapcode National: GBR WG.169B

Mapcode Global: WH7MT.CMBZ

Entry Name: Tulloch, cupmarks 335m SW of

Scheduled Date: 15 July 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11397

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Strathdon

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


This monument is a large erratic boulder bearing cup-markings, enigmatic prehistoric symbols between 3500 and 5000 years old. It is situated in pasture just above the upper break-in-slope of a deep and wide river valley.

The boulder is 2.7m in length by 1.1m in breadth at its W end and 1.75m in breadth at its E end, and is up to 1.2m in height. On the upper surface of the stone there are ten cup-marks measuring up to 80mm in diameter and 20mm in depth. The N face of the stone is sheer and may represent the broken surface of what was once a larger boulder.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, 10m in diameter, centred on the boulder, to include the boulder and the area surrounding it, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument's archaeological significance is as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is a good example of its type, containing a large number of cup-mark symbols in a single place. Its position in the landscape is typical for this class of monument, nationally. However, few in NE Scotland remain on natural large boulders (only 58 in total have been identified in Aberdeenshire and many of these have been subsequently moved as part of field clearance activities), most were later incorporated into larger ritual monuments. The meaning of the symbols of this class of monument is poorly understood and the preservation of any member of its type can only serve to preserve this class for study in the future.

Contextual characteristics: Examples of this class of monument rarely exist in isolation, and it has been recognised that each individual group of rock carvings forms a small part of a wider coherent system of rock carvings distributed along, or near to, the tops of valley systems, where they may mark out route-ways through the landscape. The meaning of the marks themselves are intriguing and enigmatic. It is possible that they are some form of ritualised expression and that the relationship between disparate groups of rock art represent a symbolic 'grammar'. As the boulder is one of the few which has not been incorporated into a later ritual monument, this example is also in a position to inform future work about the relationship of cup-mark symbols and later ritual practice.

National Importance:

The monument is of national importance because it is a good example of an easily recognised and widely appreciated monument type. The loss of this example, within a wider coherent system in this landscape and in a locally rare original setting, would affect our ability to understand this class of monument. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of how members of prehistoric communities in NE Scotland who carved these symbols, and those that came into contact with them in later periods, interacted with one another and with their environment.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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