| 5 March 2014
Ancient stone decorated on two sides found in Scotland
A rare example of prehistoric rock art has been uncovered in the Scottish Highlands. Archaeologists made the discovery while moving a boulder decorated with ancient cup and ring marks to a new location in Ross-shire. When they turned the stone over they found the same impressions on the other side of the rock. It is one of only a few decorated stones of its kind.
Susan Kruse, of Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), first discovered the stone at Heights of Fodderty several years ago when out walking. The second set of cup and ring marks were uncovered recently when archaeologists were moving the stone to a new site at nearby Heights of Brae Neil Gunn Viewpoint. From the Neolithic or Bronze Age, the art was created between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago.
Ms Kruse said: "Finding cup and ring decoration on the opposite side has raised a number of tantalising questions. Was the decoration meant to be viewed from both sides or was one decorated side deliberately placed face down? Or was the stone carved at different times?" John Wombell, of North of Scotland Archaeological Society (NOSAS),, who is leading a project to record rock art in the Highlands and Grampian, said: "Although some stones are decorated on different faces, I only know of a few other stones with decoration on opposite sides." The archaeologist said most boulders with markings were too heavy to turn over to find out if they were decorated on the reverse side.
There is a cluster of rock art in the local area. A Neolithic chambered burial cairn and round houses dating to the Bronze and Iron Ages have also been found. Another major discovery in the area was the Heights of Brae hoard, the largest surviving late Bronze Age gold find in Scotland.
Edited from BBC News (27 February 2014)
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