HE Wilson Photography

The Mysteries of Kilmartin Glen : Prehistoric Rock Art

I’ve finally had the chance to sit down and really organize my pictures from my travels over the last couple years. I’ve already started sharing some photos from my trip to Florida, but I thought I would put together some highlights from other travels as well, starting with the couple weeks I spent travelling in the west of Scotland during the summer of 2016 (in no particular order). I hope you enjoy!

Upon entering Kilmartin Glen, I was immediately filled with a sense of awe and mystery. I thought I knew what I was in for, but the reality far exceeded my expectations. The landscape is chock full of remnants of the far distant past; the cairns that march down the glen, the carefully arranged standing stones and henges, and the mound of Dunadd, an iron-age hill fort and royal center of Dalriada, standing dominant on a hilltop. And of course, there is the famous yet enigmatic neolithic rock art carved into slabs of stone throughout the valley. These markings are not unique to Kilmartin Glen, but can be find in high concentration here. While there are many theories, the true meaning behind these “cup and ring” markings remains lost to the mists of time. I visited several sites of these carvings during the few days I spent in Kilmartin a couple years ago, puzzling over their meaning. I find myself draw to the theory that they are a map of the night sky, or at the very least some sort of sketch of it. But there are other patterns there as well that don’t seem to match that theory. In any case they certain lend a mystic atmosphere to an already fascinating area! The photos below showcase a few of the main sites scattered through the glen.

Shot in Kilmartin Glen June 2016

-A lot of these markings at Baluachraig seem to be missing the characteristic rings around the center indentation, and look less like a map of the stars. quite puzzling. Maybe it was a game board? An area to practice carvings? Fashion tools?
The Achnabreck markings look more like a map, or image, of the night sky
Cairnbaan – the cup and ring markings are fairly faint here but they are there if you know to look for them!

Stars? Constellations? Targets? Or something else entirely. Are we overthinking things?




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