Ancient Monuments

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Braeval Farm, cupmarks 260m NNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Inverness South, Highland

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Latitude: 57.4282 / 57°25'41"N

Longitude: -4.0988 / 4°5'55"W

OS Eastings: 274079

OS Northings: 839486

OS Grid: NH740394

Mapcode National: GBR J972.Z33

Mapcode Global: WH4GR.0KH9

Entry Name: Braeval Farm, cupmarks 260m NNW of

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11796

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Daviot and Dunlichity

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Inverness South

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument comprises a boulder bearing cupmarks, prehistoric symbols between 3500 and 5000 years old. It is situated in improved pasture approximately 250m NNW of Braeval Farm at the foot of Creag Liath, overlooking the valley of the Craigie Burn.

The visible part of the boulder protruding through the turf measures approximately 3.5m E to W by 2.7m transversely and is 0.5m high. The cupmarks are predominantly located on the N and W side of the boulder where the face of the boulder is relatively flat. There are at least 8 single cupmarks and 5 pairs of cupmarks. The cups are approximately 50mm in diameter each, and the pairs are linked by grooves 50mm to 100mm in length.

Prehistoric rock art (cupmarks, cup-and-ring marks and related designs) are found on Bronze-Age and Neolithic funerary and ritual monuments, such as the Clava cairns in Strathnairn, and also on exposed rock surfaces or natural boulders. Why such hollows and grooves were carefully pecked or ground into stones is unknown. There are many theories about the purpose of cupmarks although they are generally thought to have had some religious or ritual symbolism rather than being simply decorative art.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the cupmarked boulder and an area around in which associated evidence for its use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is a good example of a form of rock art probably dating to the Neolithic or Bronze Age. A variety of single cups, as well as double cups conjoined by grooves, are clearly visible on a conspicuous boulder, which affords extensive views along the valley. The unusual incised grooves add to the interest of this particular example of rock art.

Contextual characteristics: The probable inter-relationship with other monuments bearing cupmarks nearby in Strathnairn considerably adds to the interest and the value of this site. Here as in other parts of Scotland there is a close correlation between the distribution of rock art and certain types of Neolithic and Bronze-Age funerary and ritual monuments. If this inter-relationship is accepted, the monument forms part of a complex of ritual prehistoric monuments. Its form and location can be compared and contrasted to similar monuments in Strathnairn and elsewhere in NE Scotland to contribute to the understanding of regional identity and society in the prehistoric period.

National importance

This monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved example of prehistoric rock art. Carvings such as these remain an intriguing enigma. Nevertheless, the probability that it relates to a wider prehistoric ritual landscape in Strathnairn means it has the potential to contribute to the understanding of funerary practice and prehistoric society in this locality and Scotland as a whole. The loss of the monument would therefore damage our future ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NH73NW 47. Highland SMR records the monument as NH73NW 0044.


Beckensall S 1999, BRITISH PREHISTORIC ROCK ART, Tempus.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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