Rock Art Database


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Canmore ID 12380 SCRAP ID 439
Location OS Grid Ref: NH 44790 45759 Team Not in team
Existing Classifications
Classification Period
Date Fieldwork Started 11/01/2017 Date Fieldwork Completed
New Panel? No  


A1. Identifiers

Panel Name URCHANY Number 1
Other names
HER/SMR SM Number Other
Classifications And Periods
Classification 1 Cup Marked Stone Period 1 Neol/bronze Age

A2. Grid Reference(original find site)

OS NGR NH 44790 45760
New OS NGR NH 44790 45759
Lat/Long 57.47543 -4.59002
Obtained By: GPS

A3. Current Location & Provenance

  • At original location
Accession no. Not given

Section B. CONTEXT

B1. Landscape Context

Weather Sun and light shower
Position in landscape Hillside
Topography(terrain within about 500m of panel.) Undulating
Aspect of slope (if on sloping terrain e.g. S, SE etc.) S

B2. Current land use & vegetation

  • Improved Pasture

B3. Forestry

  • No selection

B4. Archaeological Features within 200m / or visible from the panel

  • Field System
  • Settlement
  • Burial Mound/Cairn
  • Enclosure
  • Ditch/Bank
  • Hillfort

B5. Location Notes

On a break in the extensive south-facing slope of the north bank of the Breakachy Burn, 7.5kms from Beauly, are the substantial stone remains of two houses and surrounding enclosure walls. This represents the old settlement of Coulnabottach, part of the Lands of Urchany, in which people were still living at the time of the 1871 survey. In front of the eastern of the two ruined houses is the cup-marked stone that was described by William Jolly in 1881 (PSAS 1881-2, 16, p359). At that time he said the stone "was recently discovered by Mr. Forbes of Teanassie School, who has searched the surrounding country for cups, etc." The settlement and the stone face south with extensive views over the lands of Teanassie, Breakachy and Kiltarlity. The Breakachy Burn lies 85 m below, and 700m south. A small burn, periodic in the summer, lies 200m to the east. An enclosure bank runs 10m south, and a modern post-and-mesh fence lies 50m up the slope to the north, behind the ruined buildings. There is a well-defined track leading from Upper Farley, at the end of a metalled road, to the settlement of Coulnabottach. Across the Breakachy Burn, and 500m to the east, lies Dun Mor (scheduled monument, Canmore ID SM4979), one of five duns on the braes west of Beauly. It can be seen from the stone. The surrounding gently sloping hillsides contain an extensive and rich multi-period archaeological environment with numerous features and structures dating from early Bronze Age to the improvements of the 19th century - field systems, banks and dykes, hut circles, burial cairns, a scheduled bowl barrow, ruined 18th & 19th century houses, etc.

Previous Notes

NH44NW 1 4479 4576. A well known cup-marked boulder, 6 1/2 by 6 by 3 feet, of hard dark grey mica-schist, stands earthfast about 6 yards from the door of the ruined gamekeeper's house of Urchany. The surface bears over 40 cup-marks, some of which have been tampered with. Two of the cups are connected. W Jolly 1882 As described above, this cup-marked boulder was located at NH 4479 4576. Approx. 40 cup-marks were seen; only about half this number were prominent, the remainder may have been caused by weathering and appeared as slight indentations on the surface of the boulder. Visited by OS (R B) 7 July 1965

Section C. PANEL

C1. Panel Type

In the landscape Boulder/Slab

C2. Panel Dimensions, Slope & Orientation

Dimensions of panel (m to one decimal place)
Length (longer axis) 2.6 Width 1.6
Height (max) 0.7 Height (min) 0.1
Approximate slope of carved surface
15 degrees degrees
Orientation (Aspect e.g. NW)
Rock Surface S Carved Surface E Carved Surface

C3. Rock Surface

Surface Compactness Hard Grain Size Medium Visible Anomalies Not Visible
Rock Type Schist

C4. Surface Features

  • Fissures/cracks
  • Smooth Surface

C5. Panel Notes

In 1881 William Jolly described the stone as: "It is a carried boulder of hard, darkgrey mica schist, 6 feet 6 inches by 6 feet, and 3 feet thick, still partly underground, with irregular upper surface. It is shown in Fig. 62. It contains above forty cups, on a pretty smooth surface. Those marked (1) are less distinct than the rest but are clearly cupped. A nail has been driven into the cup, at (x), where it may have been partially bored for blasting. Only two of the cups are connected, Nos. 14 and 15. A part of the stone on the left side is 6 inches lower than the rest, and the stone has structural cracks in several places. The stone has been considerably worn from being so near the house, and some of the cups may have been tampered with." (He then describes each of the individual cups - diameter and depth. There is a diagram in the original text). In November 2017 it is much as described - a large prominent boulder lying about 4m in front of a ruined building. It lies E-W, ie along the contours of the slope, and is 2.6m long by 1.57m wide. The boulder has several fissures separating the carved upper surface into a number of linked panels. A total of 41 cup shaped depressions were identified, one of which to the north side had the metal spike described by Jolly in 1881. The deepest and widest cups are found on the western side of the upper surface. No obvious pattern to the cups. This site was visited at a later date by a member of the Scotland's Rock Art project team, who interpreted around 15-20 of the depressions as man-made cup marks, where the others were thought to be natural features. It is possible that a number of the cup marks were originally natural features that have been enhanced by human hands.

C6. Probability

The probability that there is any rock art on the panel is Definite


The nature of the cups was reviewed in March 2019 following some concern that they may represent recent historical-period, rather than pre-historic, activity. A further visit was arranged with ScRAP personnel. This confirmed that a number of the cups did seem to represent pre-historic rock art, although some of the cup-like depressions appear to be natural; others may have been deepened or even created more recently. As the rock now lies so close to human habitation, this is not to be wondered at. There are 42 cup like depressions, but only 15-20 of these were considered to be man-made.



Visible Tool Marks? Yes

Visible Peck Marks? No


D1. Access

  • Right to Roam access.
  • Panel is on Private land.

D2. Awareness

  • Panel was known before the project.
  • This panel is known to others in the local community.
There are stories or folk traditions associated with this panel No

D3. Risk

  • No selection
  • There are sheep near the rock.
  • There are cattle near the rock.
  • No selection
Comments and other potential threats

No comments added