Revealing the earliest animal carvings in Scotland: The Dunchraigaig Deer, Kilmartin

Joana Valdez-Tullet, Tertia Barnett, Guillaume Robin, Stuart Jeffrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The recent discovery of animal carvings in the Early Bronze Age burial cairn at Dunchraigaig (Kilmartin Glen, Scotland) prompts a re-evaluation of current knowledge of rock art in Britain. The deer and other quadrupeds represented in the monument are the first unambiguous depictions of prehistoric animals of prehistoric date in Scotland, and among the earliest identified in Britain and Ireland. This contrasts with the well-known abstract carvings of rock art in this region, characterized by cup-marks and cup-and-rings. The discovery also reinforces the special character of Kilmartin Glen as one of the most original and remarkable Neolithic-Bronze Age landscapes of monumentality and rock art in Britain. This article describes the process of authenticating the Dunchraigaig carvings as part of the Scotland's Rock Art Project (ScRAP) and discusses their implications for our understanding of prehistoric rock art in Scotland, Britain and Atlantic Europe more widely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-307
Number of pages27
JournalCambridge Archaeological Journal
Issue number2
Early online date19 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Dunchraigaig Cairn
  • figurative rock art
  • deer
  • Neolithic
  • early Bronze Age
  • Kilmartin


Dive into the research topics of 'Revealing the earliest animal carvings in Scotland: The Dunchraigaig Deer, Kilmartin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this