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Moorfoot Primary School, cup-marked stone 345m SSW of

A Scheduled Monument in Inverclyde South West, Inverclyde

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9464 / 55°56'47"N

Longitude: -4.8369 / 4°50'12"W

OS Eastings: 222941

OS Northings: 676233

OS Grid: NS229762

Mapcode National: GBR 08.YCCZ

Mapcode Global: WH2M8.NSWR

Entry Name: Moorfoot Primary School, cup-marked stone 345m SSW of

Scheduled Date: 24 February 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12855

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Inverkip

County: Inverclyde

Electoral Ward: Inverclyde South West

Traditional County: Renfrewshire

Description

The monument comprises a cup-marked stone likely to date to the late Neolithic period. The monument is located on a golf course at around 120m above sea level.

The monument consists of an area of exposed bedrock, measuring around 4.5m NE-SW by 1.25m transversely, surrounded by peat. The cup marks are in two separate groups. The first group is at the east end of the outcrop and is composed of five cup marks. These form a chevron and are spaced around 2.5 cm apart. The second group, located to the west of the first, consists of a regular grid of nine cup marks, each spaced around 2.5 cm apart. The cup marks of both groups are around 3.5 cm in diameter and vary in depth between 5 and 10 mm.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular in plan, centred on the monument, to include the remains described and an area around it within which evidence relating to its creation, use and abandonment may survive, 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

The monument is a good example of a Neolithic or Bronze Age ritual feature. Cup marks are decorative circular depressions carved into standing stones, outcrops of bedrock or boulders, and are sometimes found arranged in patterns with other motifs. They probably date to the Neolithic period, around 4500 years ago. The cup marks form two distinct groups, arranged in two different, but both evenly spaced, patterns. It is unclear how far the stone extends below the peat and there is the potential for further rock art to exist below the surface. The cup marks would have been formed through pecking, using a hammerstone to chip away small fragments of the stone. Some erosion is apparent on some of the group of nine marks, but the monument is generally in a good state of preservation with the cup marks clearly defined and visible.

The monument has an inherent potential to inform our understanding of the creation of rock art in prehistory. It has the capacity to add to our knowledge of why and how such marks were made and what they signified. The monument has the potential to inform our knowledge and understanding of prehistoric ritual practices.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is located on former farm land, now a golf course, at around 120m above sea level. Examples of this type of monument rarely exist in isolation. It has long been recognised that each individual group of rock carvings forms a small part of a wider coherent system distributed along, or near to, the tops of valley systems, where they mark out route-ways through the landscape. In this instance, two further examples of rock art have been recorded in close proximity. The most significant of these is described as having five cup-and-ring marks, a grid of nine cup marks and ten other cup marks. Groups of cup marks are rare in Scotland and this apparent cluster of complex patterns is unusual.

Across Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, 31 examples of cup-marked stones have been recorded, almost exclusively in rural areas. Many of the examples are located relatively close to the course of the River Gryfe, potentially an earlier route-way, and this possible connection would benefit from further investigation. Another theory is that rock art is often found at the junction of farming land and upland areas and marks the boundary between domesticated and wild landscapes.

The monument has the capacity to further our understanding of the distribution of such sites within the landscape and how they relate to one another and to other contemporary monuments.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular our understanding of ritual or funerary monuments of the Neolithic or early Bronze Age. Specifically it has the capacity to further our understanding of the construction, function, location and symbolic meaning of such ritual monuments within this region and across Scotland, as well as inform our knowledge of the landscape in which the monument was constructed. The loss of this monument would significantly impede our ability to understand the ritual landscape of Neolithic or early Bronze Age Eastern Dumfriesshire and our knowledge of the importance of the siting of such monuments. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of how the prehistoric communities in SW Scotland which created these symbols interacted with their environment.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NS27NW 8. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service records this site as 5904. Copies of these reports are appended.

References

Alexander, D (ed.) 1996 Prehistoric Renfrewshire: Essays in Honour of Frank Newall, Renfrew Local History Forum: Edinburgh

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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