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

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 this 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
JournalCambridge Archaeological Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Jul 2022

Keywords

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

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