Case Study: Heights of Fodderty Cup and Ring Marked Stone

Susan Kruse

This fine example of rock art (MHG58957) was discovered in 2006 on a dyke beside a public path, in an area where previously only one example of rock art had been found. There are now at least five examples of rock art in the immediate vicinity and a number not too distant. It therefore shows the benefit of looking for other examples in areas where they are known.

Stone with cup marks .
Figure 1: Heights of Fodderty stone side A. ©Susan Kruse
Stone with cup marks.
Figure 2: Heights of Fodderty stone side B. ©Susan Kruse

The stone has a variety of cup marks, some with rings, and in in a few cases links between cups. Due to concerns over its safety, it was moved with permission from the local council and Treasure Trove about half a mile down the road to the Neil Gunn Viewpoint where it was re-erected as part of a community project. It was placed to allow wheelchair access. The Adopt-A-Monument project helped with the costs of a signboard.

Path leading to information panel and decorated stone.
Figure 3: The Heights of Fodderty stone on display at the Neil Gunn Viewpoint. ©Susan Kruse

The stone is significant because it is decorated on both sides, and consequently has been re-erected on its side to show both faces, although it is not known whether this was original. This raises 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 perhaps was the stone carved at different times?

The only other known example of a stone with decoration on both sides in Scotland is from Kilmartin, although Scotland’s Rock Art project may determine if there are others. The Heights of Fodderty stone raises the question whether other rock art is similarly decorated on both sides.

Many areas of the Highlands are rich in rock art, with seemingly regional styles. Information from Scotland’s Rock Art project (accessed January 2021) will provide further details of geographic trends and distributions.