Ancient Ayrshire (1): Blackshaw Rock Art

Photo: Leslie Barrie
Just behind the town of West Kilbride, on Blackshaw Farm, is the ancient rock carving known by the name "Blackshaw Rock Art."

It is an exposed rock surface, measuring 13.5 meters in length by 6 meters broad at one end and one meter broad at the other, that is decorated with carvings of over 300 cup marks, and a variety of cup-and-rings, spirals, and other marks.

In 1956 it was reported that the the rock was mostly overgrown with turf, but it had been fenced off and deturfed by 1982. Adjacent to the south east end of this rock, on the other side of a field wall, is another flat rock surface, roughly five meters by two, which bears at least two cup marks, three to five centimeters in diameter. Here is a drawing of the markings:

Click to enlarge.

Blackshaw Farm is a quad bike centre so that it is possible to use their car park and walk up. See map.

Ayrshire has at least two other sites with cup and ring marks at Dalgarven Mill and Mauchline Gorge.

Little is known about the significance of these mysterious markings, but they are thought to be an expression of Neolithic culture and either a means of recording data or ritualistic decoration applied to sites considered holy.

Detailed drawings of the markings can be found here.

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