The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Blackford Hill



Tuesday 24/8/04
Another steep and tricky cliff face- another site! It's a bit of a scramble up here over slippy grass, scree, through gorse and stinging nettle. I'm back up here with the digi cam to take some decent pics and also some measurements- especially of the 'hunter' figure. The deer was only rediscovered in 1996, but no mention was made of the human figure only 3 cm to the left of it. To be fair- the deer is very prominent compared to the human, but the latter is definitely pecked from the rock using the same technique as the deer. The deer is 145 mm long by 107 mm high. The horns are 47 and 45 mm long. The human 'hunter' figure (which is 21 mm to the left of the nose of the deer) is 17 mm wide by 68 mm high with legs 30 mm long. It appears to be holding a weapon of sorts on its left side- possibly a representation of a bow and arrow, this being 37 mm long.
Just about 1.1 m to the right of the carving there's a crevice in the cliff face and a crack forming a natural chimney- indeed the rocks in the crevice are blackened with carbon and soot. At the base of the rock with the carving is a horizontal slab approximately 80 cm by 1 m to sit perched on the cliff. I guess it's impossible to date such a carving, but this place has a very ancient feel to it- the deer and hunter carving, the fire shelter, the perch high up on a cliff…
Posted by Martin
25th August 2004ce

Comments (1)

The site does feel very ancient despite looking down on allotments, back gardens and traffic. The slab with the carving appears to have been sheltered from the worst of the weather. Most of the less sheltered rock faces around it are shattered by frost and erosion. I hope that Historic Scotland get into the base of the chimney crack and try to date some of the carbon and charcoal. It wouldn't take much. It might be easier than digging through the mountain of scree which make up this side of Blackford's slopes looking for tools.
Twenty miles or so down the edge of the Pentland Hills evidence for Scotland's earliest human community yet has been discovered and confirmed. They were reindeer hunters in the Hamburgian period of the late Upper Paleolithic around 14,000 years ago.
Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
16th October 2009ce
You must be logged in to add a comment