Kalemouth Carving, Eckford, Roxburghshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NT 714 275

Archaeology & History

Kalemouth carving (after R.W.B. Morris 1981)

“In the field “not far from the cairn” (just E of the farm), was a small convex gritstone boulder 25cm by 15cm by 15cm (¾ft  x ½ft x ½ft). On its fairly smooth surface is:Now housed in the National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh, this little-known petroglyph was rediscovered in 1957 by a Mr G.F. Ritchie, not far from the once-large Kalemouth neolithic tomb.  A carving that seems to be quite isolated (no others are known about in this area), this incomplete four-ringed design was in all probability a stray rock that came out of the cairn—although we don’t know this for sure.  It was described in Ron Morris’ petroglyph survey, where he told us,

“a cup-and-four-rings with 2 parallel grooves from the inner ring (which is incomplete) through the others (which are gapped)—the outer two being now incomplete also—a form of ‘keyhole pattern’.”

A near-identical carving on a similiar-shaped portable stone can be seen in Galashiels museum, whose history has seemingly been forgotten.


  1. 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, 1967.
  2. 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.
  3. Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland, BAR: Oxford 1981.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Harlaw, Fairnington, Roxburghshire

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NT 666 286

Archaeology & History

One of those site place-names with a familiar ring to it: Har, boundary; law, tumulus (though it can also be used to mean ‘a meeting place’).  Nevertheless, whatever the precise origin of the name, the site here seems to have been destroyed.

Although listed by the Royal Commission in 1956 as a stone circle, John Barnatt thinks it may have been a tomb of sorts – which is what the place-name infers if we’re puritanical about it.  Alexander Jeffrey (1864) told us the most, saying that:

“A field to the east of Fairnington village is called Harlaw, from a circle of large stones which stood within it, but which have been removed to serve farm purposes.”

Its exact location is unknown, though the Royal Commission lads thought it probably “stood somewhere near the present Harelaw Plantation,” about a mile east of the village.  Any more info on this lost site would be most welcome!


  1. Burl, Aubrey, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press 2000.
  2. Gelling, Margaret, Place-Names in the Landscape, Phoenix: London 2000.
  3. Jeffrey, Alexander, The History and Antiquities of Roxburghshire – volume 3, Seton & MacKenzie: Edinburgh 1864.
  4. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Roxburghshire – volume 2, HMSO: Edinburgh 1956.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Harestanes, Ancrum, Roxburghshire

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NT 641 240

Archaeology & History

Mentioned briefly by Burl (2000), this site is another of the countless megalithic monuments in our islands that has been destroyed.  References to it are few and far between, though the site was investigated by members of Scottish Royal Commission in March, 1947, and found absolutely no remains left.  In the first volume of their Roxburgh (1956) survey, they told:

“The stone circle that stood in the vicinity of Harestones Cottages had been reduced to a single stone by 1845, and this stone has since disappeared.  No details of the circle are recorded and the evidence for its exact position is contradictory.  Stobie’s Map of Roxburghshire (1770) marks the site a little to the NE of Harestones Cottages, while an estate map of 1795 is said to have placed it at the SW corner of this group of buildings.”

There is the distinct possibility of course that there once stood two independent ancient monuments in the vicinity, which would account for descriptions in the different site locations.


  1. Burl, Aubrey, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press 2000.
  2. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Roxburghshire – volume 1, HMSO: Edinburgh 1956.
  3. Watson, G., “The Stone Circles of Roxburghshire,” in Transactions of the Hawick Archaeological Society, volume 20, 1908.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian