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

Fontburn Reservoir

Cup Marked Stone


There is a large and possibly cup-marked rock (see photo) at the location of the site marked on the 1:25 000 OS sheet (NZ 022937). It is heavily encrusted with lichen with the rest partially covered in moss and turf. It is on the slope just N of the Fallowlees Burn to the E of the bridleway. The cups on the visible surface are certainly not deep, and I was not clear at the time of my visit if this was the stone referred to by Beckensall (2001) as Fontburn (a). No illustration appeared to have been published. Recent comparison with images in the Beckensall archive show that this rock is identified as Fontburn a (i), 185 x 135cm, in its original location, with a minimum of 15 cups.

The Beckensall archive describes three more marked rocks in the vicinity, all of which I missed on this visit, unsurprisingly when you examine the photographs. My eyes and experience are no match for Stan's.

There is a very nice, deeply cup-marked rock to the west (NZ 018936) between the forest and the Burn (see photo) just W of the Settlement. There are many rocks in the area but this was the only one with clear markings. The rock is very close to the ground, about 60 x 30 cm in size, with four prominent cups (three deep and one shallow). High ground surrounds on all sides and the only view is E down the valley towards Fontburn. I thought this was a new find and was quite excited. Recent examination of the Beckensall archive shows it as Fontburn a (vi), where it is considered to be a portable, reused stone, possibly part of a burial cairn. Perhaps this is the origin of many of the scattered rocks in this area, including the large number of smaller rounded cobbles on a slope above the burn.

I photographed another cup-marked large boulder SE of this stone which corresponds to Fontburn a (v) of the archive (see photo), but missed (vii) and (viii). The marks on these were either not particularly prominent or I mistook them for natural erosion.

It would be interesting to explore further up the valley but the forest would perhaps make this impossible.

There is also an earthfast boulder with a possible single deep cup in front of Fallowlees Farm, right next to the bridle way (see photo) but I am much less certain of this one because of its position.
Posted by rockandy
11th December 2004ce
Edited 18th December 2004ce

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