Ancient Monuments

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Tofthills, cupmarked and cross-incised stone

A Scheduled Monument in Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.3275 / 57°19'38"N

Longitude: -2.7467 / 2°44'48"W

OS Eastings: 355137

OS Northings: 826571

OS Grid: NJ551265

Mapcode National: GBR M9LC.0FS

Mapcode Global: WH7MC.S370

Entry Name: Tofthills, cupmarked and cross-incised stone

Scheduled Date: 27 September 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11574

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross-incised stone; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cupmarks or cup-and

Location: Clatt

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument comprises the upper fragment of a block of grey granite bearing prehistoric cupmarks and an early medieval incised wheel cross. Discovered in 1879 in the foundation of the barn at Tofthills during rebuilding works, it was incorporated into the dyke for preservation. Subsequently removed from there, it now stands on a grass verge immediately S of the farmhouse at Tofthills farmsteading. A 19th-century report suggests the stone came from a circle of stones to the N of the farm buildings.

The stone measures 0.55m in breadth by 0.45m in thickness at ground level and stands to a height of 0.75m. It has numerous cupmarks on its top and sides and, on its top face, an incised wheel cross with shaft enclosed within a circle.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the stone, 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 stone is well preserved with its carvings in a fresh condition. It has the potential to enhance the study of the 'Christianisation' of prehistoric stones.

Contextual characteristics: In Aberdeenshire the cupmarking of stones within stone circles dating to the Bronze Age is often noted, and there is a suggestion that this stone came from a stone circle. Although not in its original setting the stone has particular interest because of the multiple cupmarks on a fragment of a larger stone and the incised cross which overlays these cupmarks.

Carved stones, such as Tofthills, are one of the principal strands of evidence for the process of the introduction of Christianity to NE Scotland in the first millennium AD. There is an indication that some early medieval carved stones and prominent prehistoric monuments coincide with medieval parish boundaries, so they may be providing important evidence for early land organisation. Tofthills appears to be an example of this.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular of the Christianisation of prehistoric monuments and early land organisation. The good preservation of the carving enhances this potential.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the monument as NJ52NE5, cup-marked and cross-incised stone; Aberdeenshire SMR as NJ52NE0005.

Photographs:

RCAHMS, 1909, A8623 / SC 676488. Tofthills stone.

RCAHMS, 1996, C/66604, Tofthills Stone.

RCAHMS, 1995, C/47052, Tofthills Stone.

References:

Ritchie J 1910a, 'The sculptured stones of Clatt, Aberdeenshire', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 44, 212-14.

Ritchie J 1918a, 'Cup-marks on the stone circles and standing-stones of Aberdeenshire and part of Banffshire', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 52 99-101.

RCAHMS forthcoming, Strathdon survey.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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