Cup-Marked Stone (lost): OS Grid reference – NN 918 524
Archaeology & History
On the hillside a short distance (probably) south of old Balnabeggan farmhouse, up against some walling at the edge of some natural birch wood, could once be seen—some fifty or sixty years ago—a large, ornately inscribed, quartz-enriched cup-marked stone. And, although seemingly lost, it shouldn’t be too hard to uncover with a little bit of bimbling and dedication. It was described in some considerable detail in John Dixon’s (1922) survey of the Strathtay petroglyphs as being,
“roughly hexagonal in shape, but one side is partly hidden by an old dry-stone wall built above it. The greatest width is 7 feet, whilst a diameter at right angles measures 6 feet. The thickness or depth of the stone is at least 2 feet, but it may be more underneath, as the stone stands in a wet place in which it may have settled down.
“On the upper surface of the stone are fifty-nine cups of various sizes, the largest measuring 2½ inches in diameter, and from 1 inch to ½ inch, or less, in depth. A special feature is that four equidistant cups (three in a row and the fourth at a right angle to the centre of the row) are connected by grooves slightly less broad and deep than the cups. Three pairs of cups are also similarly connected. The cups connected as described are discernible, but the group of four cups on the low left side of the stone does not appear in the photograph to have its fourth cup (the lowest) connected, as it really is, with the central cup of the group.”
Mr Dixon’s additional clue as to its whereabouts is that it’s “about 500 feet above sea level.” So what, pray, has become of it…?
- Dixon, John H., “Cup-Marked Stones in Strathtay, Perthshire,” in Proceedings Society Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 56, 1922.
- Kennedy, James, Folklore and Reminiscences of Strathtay and Grandtully, Munro Press: Perth 1927.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian