04 December 2006

incised rocks

Here's some eg's of the incised rocks from the Glentarf area , as they don't necessarily have any conventional rock art on them they have not been put on BRAC .


Fitz said...

Hi George
Intriguing stuff fella.
I guess the multi-directional nature of the incisions rules out glacial striations. They seem much less ordered than the Traprain Law incisions and almost resemble the patterns you would see on a well- used butchers block.
I guess the length of some of the incisions would rule out something as mundane as the chopping of fodder or wood.
How hard is the rock up there? Is it easy to scratch?

george said...

Hello Fitz , did you get the recent e-mail ? The rock is old red sandstone ,therefore very soft.There are lots of rocks marked with lots of incisions at all angles and quite a variety of depth. Many of the incised rocks are knolls or raised areas that a plough could not access . Defacement was a possibility but often the rock art was left relatively unscathed. Butcher's block is a good description ,I was trying to think of some action that could account for secondary incisions but there are so many rocks over a stretch of a mile it doesn't make sense , you would have your local convenient stones. I have a vision of a blind drunk psychotic plooman bent on avenging his condition - the rock that cracked his skull.

Fitz said...

Hi George
I've just checked my e-mail, lovely, cheers.

If the rock is very soft do you think it could possibly be caused by generations of tree roots? If the carvings were made in a clearing then that may explain why they aren't effected. Tree roots may also explain a fairly uniform semi-circular groove that gradually splits and tapers. Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about? 'cos I don't
A venegful & crazed ploughman with a belly full of henbane laced heather beer, sound like much more fun.

GraemeC said...

Those cuts and grooves are intriguing if the plough is not responsible. Some of them on the edge of the rock look so deep they must have taken a lot of scraping and rubbing to make them.

Like the excavators of the Boston Spa stones, they had several reasons for concluding those were not plough marks.

Its hard to picture what they could be about, but in more recent times theres the tradition of beating the bounds where boundary stones are whipped and struck?

I can see that crazed ploughman giving the rocks a good thrashing 'Basil Fawlty' style.

george said...

Hello Fitz and Graeme , I thought the henbane /heather beer cocktail was what the RA engraver imbibed . Tree/plant roots could cause markings on soft rock but these are definitely incised plus there are others with razor thin markings too and the soil is too thin to support trees in most of the area. it's the sheer amount of effort that has gone onto it that is surprising . A plough could have done some of them but the they wouldn't have been ploughing the soil just incising the rocks .No doubt that there is plenty of RA found on parish boundaries , usually big erratics .It can be a bit of a pain when deciding what parish they are in .

Fitz said...

Hi folks
In an attempt at a multi-disciplinary approach (you can tell I'm up on my corporate jargon), I've taken the liberty of posting a query on a geological forum regarding the possible origins of these marks.

george said...

Interesting site Fitz ,I had shown some of the pics to Prof. Duck at Dundee Uni ,his main comments were that the markings were not natural ,the width was often much less and also greater than plough scars and while there may have been some glaciation it wasn't what was most apparent .

rockrich said...

Just a thought, but on the 1st pic the cuts appear to be on the edge / curve of the rock, typical of sharpening of some sort??? Admittedly, this wouldn’t account for the random incisions on the other rocks.

I do wonder whether prehistoric man had their mavericks, someone who thought, “bollocks to this cup & ring tradition malarkey, I’m going straight”.

Worth getting some refs of Aussie sites out again, Nackara Springs has similar random cuts. This is about the best match I can find ‘ont net, but closer matches do exist in the region;