Cup-and-Ring Stone (removed): OS Grid Reference – NT 807 659
Archaeology & History
A carving that no longer exists in its place of origin, but can now be seen in the National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh. It was discovered by a Mr James Craw (1931), who gave us the following account of his find:
“In 1910 my attention was attracted by some markings on a boulder on the top of a field wall, ¼-mile NNW of Grant’s House church and at an elevation of some 550 feet above sea level. The stone was a rounded and somewhat flattened slab of greenstone, measuring 22 inches by 17 inches by 4 inches… It bore a small cup ½-inch in diameter, surrounded by two rings of shallow incision, the outer being 3 inches in diameter. From the cup a duct, partly natural, led across the stone, and another cup, without rings, had also a short duct. Adjacent to these markings was a curious grid design of shallow lines, a series of parallel lines ¼-inch apart, being crossed at right angles by lines 2½ inches apart.”
Across a section of the stone there may also be a curving pecked line which Craw didn’t appear to notice. The parallel lines would appear to have quite separate origins, with those running below the cup-and-ring seeming to be ancient, whereas the others have the appearance of being cut with metal tools and seem much more like modern scarring.
Shortly after finding the stone, Mr Craw took the petroglyph to the National Museum in Edinburgh, where he was told that they didn’t think it “as being of early workmanship, the cups and rings being of much smaller proportions than the typical markings of the Bronze Age and the grid design having no known parallel.” They were wrong on both accounts of course, although I for one still remained unconvinced by one set of parallel lines that run along to the edge of the stone. That said, there are similar carvings of parallel lines at the impressive Traprain Law 15 miles northwest of here, so I may be wrong.
The wall in which this carving was found was obviously not its place of origin. It most likely came from one of the cairns that was reported by J. Hardy to have been destroyed in this field in 1882.
- Craw, James H., “An Inscribed Boulder from Grants House,” in History of Berwickshire Naturalists Club, volume 27, 1931.
- Edwards, Arthur J.H., “Rock Sculpturings on Traprain Law,” in Proceedings Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 69, 1935.
- Morris, Ronald W.B., “The Cup-and-Ring and Similar Early Sculptures of Scotland; Part 2 – The Rest of Scotland except Kintyre,” in Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, volume 16, 1969.
- Morris, Ronald W.B., “The cup-and-ring marks and similar sculptures of Scotland: a survey of the southern Counties – part 2,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 100, 1969.
- Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland, BAR: Oxford 1981.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian