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nortliern half of the island. This remark may be extended to inscribed
tumuli generally. J Although cup-and- circle markings are found on
detached stones and rock-surfaces in the south of Ireland, no example of
an inscribed tumulus chamber has up to the present been recorded south
of the Boyne.



-Mevugh, Donegal.

It may be well to state here that the argument I seek to establish
does not depend on the possibility of being able to show absolute lines
of demarcation between the different classes of markings. It is possible
that the spiral may yet be found to extend to rock-surfaces in Ireland,
and that, as stated, the area of distribution may be enlarged. The
practice of cutting markings on sepulchral and other stones la.sted no
doubt over a considerable period, during which continuity of tradition
was preserved to a greater or less extent. We have also to take into
account movement of population and change of settlement. TVe should.


therefore, expect to find earlier forms occasionally reappearing among
later forms, and stations detached exceptionally from the areas of distri-
bution. The argument is based, not on an absolute association of
particular forms -with a particular class of monuments, but on pre-
ponderance of association. The evidence is not, exhaustive, but it is
sufficient to establish the preponderance relied on.

Cup-marks and cup-and-circle markings have been recorded from many
parts of Ireland, and range the entire length of the island from north
to south, Donegal to Kerry. TJnlike the spiral, they are not confined
to sepulchral monuments, but are found also on detached stones and
rock surfaces. Plain concentric circles — that is, -without central cups —
occur with cup-and-circle markings, but, except in the tumuli series,
they are extremely rare. In the great majority of examples on detached
stones and rock-surfaces the central cup is present.

Concentric half circles are not known outside the Loughcrew series,
and one example at Knockmany. The cross in circle, several examples
of which are found at Dowth and one at Loughcrew, is found also on a
rock-surface at Mevagh, Co. Donegal. The latter examples are well
and firmly cut, and suggest at first sight a direct lodgment from Sweden,
where the cross in circle is frequently found on rock-surfaces. But the
presence also of cup-and-eircles with radial grooves, a form unknown in
Scandinavia, renders it doubtful that this is so.

We come now to the cup-and-circle with radial groove. This
remarkable form of marking is found at Mevagh, Co. Donegal ; at Mutf,
Co. Donegal ' ; a fine example was recently discovered by Mr. E. C.
Rotlieram, built into a fence in the neighbourhood of Loughcrew, Co.
Meath (now in the Science and Art Museum, Dublin). I am indebted
to the late Dr. V. Ball, Director of the Museum, for permission to have
tliis stone photographed by magnesium light (fig. 89). The manner in
whicli the symbol is displayed in centre of the stone, and garnished
round with otlier markings, is very remarkable. This is seen better in
the drawing (fig. 90), inserted as a key to the photograph, wliich I have
prepared fiom rubbings, with constant reference to the stone itself. An
important ;, example was found at Youghal, Co. Cork.- Numerous
examples have been published from the Co. Kerry by Dr. Graves.^

We thus see tliat this remarkable form of marking has been found
from the north to the south of Ireland. Other examples will, no doubt,
be discovered ; but those already recorded are sufficient to show how
widely it is distributed.

The first fact to note about this form of marking is its absence from
the tumuli series. There is one doubtful case, Knockmany. The large set

' Journal, R.H.A.A.I., 4th Ser., vol. iv., p. 293.
' Ibid., vol. vii., p. 604.

' Trans. R.I. A., vol. xxiv. The suhstarce of this Paper, and the
are reprinted in the Journal, R.E.A.A.I., 4th Ser., vol. iv.



of concentric rings on the upi^er part of the stone figured by Mr. Wakeman
has a short radial groove. It is not shown in Mr. Wakeman's drawing' ;
he does not seem to have regarded it as part of the figure, though it
shows strongly in photographs of the stone. It does not, however, enter
the central cup, and does not cut the outermost ring, and as there is
some indication of a flaw at this part of the stone, I regard the case as
doubtful. On the stone recently raised at this grave (see note, p. 34)
there is a cutting of rings, sliowing a radial line left in relief. Here,



Te«-, Mo;itli.

again, I am not sure that this marking is strictly of the class under
consideration. My general impression is that the markings at Knock-
many, as also at Clover Hill, Sligo, are late in the series; but I hope
to discuss these examples in detail at a future date when publishing the
stone lately discovered at Knockmany.

The cup with radial groove has been found on cist stones and sepul-
chral chambers in Scotland and England,^ and it is not improbable that

Jouiiia/, R. H.A.J. I., 4th Ser., vol. iv., p.
Simpson, p. 27, and pi. xiv.



it will yet be found in Ireland in iissociation with sepulchral remains.
We do not know wlietlier tlie stone from the Loughcrew district and
that from Youghal were sepulchral or not.

This does not impair, however, hut increases the significance of the
fact that this particular form is absent, or, at most, represented by a
single monument, in the tumuli series. In the chambered tumuli of
Dowth, New Grange, Loughcrew, Clover Hill, Castle Archdall, and
Glencolumbkille, we have a sufficient body of evidence to feel on sure

These monuments, extending from Meath to Donegal, embrace
counties in which the cup-and-oirele with radial duct is found. Tbe
form is found associated with sepulchral remains in Scotland and
England, so that there is apparently no reason ])ertaining to this parti-
cular syml)ol for its exclusion from tumuli in Ireland. It appears to
me to be inconceivable that
if this very definite form
had been in use in the period
during wbieh the majority
of the tumuli were erected,
it would be practically ab-
sent from the markings on
them .

Moreover, the fact of the
absence of tliis particular
form does not stand alone.
The evidence of the tumuli
series presents us with the
following argument : —

At New Grange the cup- Fig. 'ju.

mark had not yet been com-
bined with the spiral and degenerate spiral, concentric circles. At Lough-
crew tliis combination has taken place, the cup- mark is adopted as a centre
for si)irals and concentric circles, and the ciip-and-ring mark, with one or
more concentric circles enclosing the central cup, is firmly established.
Outside the great groups of the Boyne and Loughcrew we still find the
.spiral associated with the chambered tumuli in company with the cup-
and-circle. But the spiral does not extend to rock-surfaces and detached
stones, and, further, it is to be noted that plain concentric circles, the
representative of the spiral, common in the tumuli series, are extremely
rare on rocks and detached stones. On the latter, the cup-and-circle,
with or without radial grooves, is the predominant form.

We thus seem led to the conclusion that tlie cup-mark, which pro-
bably takes us back to the Stone age, was brought into combination with
the spiral and concentric circle by the tumuli builders (in whose period
the spiral was introduced into Ireland) ; that the tendency of the spiral


to be replaced by concentric circles led to the disappearance of the spiral,
and the general prevalence of ciip-and-circle markings; that from the
tumuli the custom of incising cup-and-circle markings spread to rock-
surfaces and detached stones, many of which were probably already
Clip-marked ; and, lastly, that it was not until the practice of cutting
cup-and-circle markings on rock-surfaces and detached stones was estab-
lished that the cup-and-circle with radial groove appeared.

The evidence from Scotland and England supports these conclusions.
Take first the distribution of the spiral. If we tabulate the localities
from which spiral sculptures are recorded in Scotland and England, we
find that they are confined to the following shires : —

Elginshire- — Strypes (Ecliqnary and Illustrated Archseologist, iii.,

Argyleshire — Aughnabreach (Simpson, pi. xxiii.).
Ayrshire — Coilsfield (Simpson, pi. xiii.); Blackshaw (Proc. S.A.8.,^

sxi., 143).
Wigtonshire — Camcrot Muir, Kirkdale (Simpson, p. 33, note).
Dumfriesshire — Hollows Tower, Eskdale (Proc. Berwicksliire

Naturalists' Club, x., 346).
Peeblesshire — La JIancha (Simpson, pi. xvi.).
Cumberland — Mauganby (Simpson, pi. v.) ; Old Park, Kirkoswald

(Trans. Cumberland and Westmoreland Ant. and Arch. Society,

1895, p. 389).
Lancashire — Calderstones, near Liverpool (Simpson, pi. vi.).'
Northumberland — Morwiek (Proc. Berwickshire Naturalists' Club,
X., 343); Lilburn Hill Farm (Archasologia Jilliana, N.S., x.,

In addition to the preceding, two localities occur in Orkney, Edday
and Erith (Simpson, pi. xix.), and one in Llanbedr, on the coast of
Merionethshire, North Wales (Simpson, pi. xxvi.).

The majority of the examples given above are associated with con-
centric circles, cup-and-circle, and plain cup-markings. They occur
chiefly on megalitliic structures, but in a few instances on cist covers and

The most interesting monument to us in the preceding list is the
Calderstones. On these stones, in addition to cup-marks, there are
two examples of the single spiral, and ten sets of concentric circles without
central cups, and one cup surrounded with a single ring.- The markings
are thus seen to be closely in line with the Louglierew series.

The manner in which tlie spii-al in association with sepulchral monu-

' These stones are illustrated in greater detail bv J. Eoniilly .\llen, Journal British
Archawlogical Association, vol. 39, p. 3U4.
* Allen, ibid., p. 305.



ments is extended on the west coast, from Argyleshire to Lancashire, sug-
gests Irish influence. The spirals at Morwick show a couple of examples
of single spirals joined S-wise (fig. 91). The example lately discovered
in Elginshire, hy Mr. Hugh "W. Young, consists of two
beautifully formed single spiruls, also joined S-wise
(fig. 92). Moreover, it is in the north-east of Scotland —
Elgin, Aberdeen, and Porfar — that the most important
examples of the stone halls incised with spirals have
been found.' The S-joined spirals in Northumberland
and Elginshire seem to represent a more direct tradi-
tion than the general run of examples in Scotland and
England ; and it is, I think, probable that the spiral
has entered Elgin and Northumberland directly from
Scandinavia. The occasional occurrence of the spiral
amongst the rock-sculptures of Sweden has been in-
stanced in section viii. The example there referred
to (Holmberg, pi. viii.) may be supplemented by three
examples on a rock-surface in Scania. = One of these
consists of two single spirals joined S-wise, similar to those at Morwick
and Strypes. A further point of relation may bo noted. Among the
sculptures at Mevagh is a form resembling the volutes of the capital of
an Ionic column (fig. 88). This form is also found on the Hollows
Tower stone, Northumberland, and similar foiiiis arc figured for Sweden
by Holmberg, plates 18-19, and 22-
23 (fig. 93).

The probabilities of the case are,
perhaps, reconciled by the sugges-
tion that Scotland and the north of
England has been the meeting ground
of a direct wave of influence from
Scandinavia and a return wave from

The inference that the spirals
on the west coast of Great Britain,
extending from Argyleshire to Lan-
Tower.and Sweden, cashire, for the most part associated
with megalithic structures, represent an extension of the Irish group
gains force when considered in connexion with the distribution of the


g. 93.-

' In a cist, with cremated remains, at Ardkeiling, Elginshire, two stone halls were
ibiind, " with eight projecting knobs on each, and well-formed grooves between them.
Each of the si.\ faces of the balls presented four knobs when looked at separately "
(Ilugh W. Young, Reliqiiarij and Illustrated ArchceoJogist, vol. iii., p. 45). These
balls, which appear to be within the Bronze Period, may be set against the Late Celtic
bronze ball, hy which the Scotch stone balls have been hitherto dated.

- " Cong. Prehist.," Stockholm, vol. i., p. 479. See also Hildebrand, single and
double spirals at Ekensberg, " Antiqvarisk Tidskrift for Sverige," vol. ii., p. 428, and
pi. 3.



spiral in Ireland. The spirals within the area from the Boyne line to
Argyleshire may be regarded as a single group, the centre of which is to be
placed in Ireland. The influence of Scandinavian Bronze Age ornament
appears to have made a deeper impression on Ireland than on Scotland
or England. This is to be inferred not only from the fact that more

Fig 94.— Map showing the Distribution of the Spiral in Great Britain and Ireland.

important examples of the spiral are found in Ireland than in Scotland or
England, but also from the evidence at Loughcrew of continuity of
influence extending into the later Bronze Age of Scandinavia. The
centre of activity of the group appears, tlierefore, to lie in Ireland.

The examples in Orkney, on the sea-way between Scandinavia and
Ireland, present no difficulty. The isolated example in Merionethshire,


on the coast of North Wales, is no doubt an outlier from tlie Irish

Other members of the Irish series are extremely rare in Scotland and
England. Concentric lialf-circles are represented by a single example
;it Blackshaw, Argyleshire. A horse-shoo form at Morwick, Northumber-
land, consisting of two concentric cuttings, with a border of pittings, or
cup-marks, round the outer circumference of the figure, maybe, however,
of this class. Lozenge markings are represented by three examples : —
(1) Five concentric lozenges on a loose slab found in a cist at Carnban,
Argyleshire (Simpson, pi. xiii.). (2) Three concentric lozenges, with
central cup and groove, at Westbank, Northumberland (Simpson, pi. ii.).
This latter example is important as showing the combination of the
lozenge with the cup-mark, analogous to the combination of the spiral
and concentric circle with the cup. (3) A cross-hatched lozenge on one
of the stones of a cist discovered at Aspatria, Cumberland {Arclueohgia,
X. 112). The cross in circle also occurs on this stone, and appears to be
the only example of that form recorded from Great Britain.'

"We may now consider the classification and associations of forms.
It is true that the spiral occurs on rock-surfaces at Aughnabreach,
Argyleshire, Blackshaw, Ayrshire, and Morwick, Northumberland. At
the two former stations it is exceptional ; at Morwick it is the prevailing-
feature. But though these exceptions are to some extent disturbing,
the association of the spiral with sepulchral monuments in Scotland and
England is very marked, and, when we bring into view concentric
circles, this association becomes significant.

The definite cases of the sepulchral association of the spiral are —
Coilsfield, Ayrshire, on a cist cover ; Maughauby, Cumberland, on one of
the stones of a circle enclosing a barrow and cist — an urn was found in
the latter — this example consists of a spiral joined tangentially to a
group of concentric circles; Old Parks, Kirkoswald, Cumberland, several
rude spirals on stones in a tumulus, associated with urns ; Lilburn,
Northumberland, rude spirals on stone in grave with cremated inter-

To these may be added, as probably sepulchral. La Mancha, Peebles-
shire, a spiral and concentric circle on a broken slab, found near other
stones, and considered by Simpson as possibly sepulchral ; Calderstones,
Lancashire, spirals and concentric circles on stone circle.

The spiral recorded from Camerot Muir, Wigtonshire, is stated to

' Fei-gusson. in ' ' Rmle Slone Moiuiments," relii'S on the statument that a skeleton,
wiih iron sword, &c., was found in this cist, as proving that the tomb is as hite as the
Vilvini; Age. On referring- to tlie oiiginal account of the discuvcry of the ci=t, it
appears that the description is second-hand, bj- a Jlr. Rooke, from information given
by Mr. Rigg, the proprietor of the hind, who was not present himself wiien the grave
was opened. Hearsay evidence of this kind is worthless. Objects funnd near each
other are frequently slated to have been found together. It was possibly a case of
a secondary interment.


have been on a standing stone, no longer in existence. The examples at
Hollows Tower, Dumfriesshire, are on a stone now used as a door-sill.

It thus appears that, with the exception of the three rock-surfaces
previously mentioned, examples of archaic spirals in Scotland and England
ar(! associated with sepulchral monuments, or with megalithic stnictures,
as distinguished from rocks and boulder-stones. "When we include con-
centric circles, and can thus extend the number of examples, this associa-
tion becomes, as I have said, significant.

Cup-and-circle markings, with and without radial grooves, are
numerous on rook-surfaces and erratic boulders in Scotland and England j
but plain concentric circles are extremely lare. I have failed to find a
single example without the central cup in the large volume of plates of
"Incised Markings on Stone," published under the direction of the late
Duke of Jforthumberlund. Again, in Simpson's plates, the only example
of plain concentric circles on a rock-surface or a boulder-stone is one of
two concentric rings on a rock at Berwick. The remainder of the
suiiace is covered with cup-and-circle markings, the majority of which
have radial grooves. A series of cup-and-ring markings, recently pub-
lished from Kirkcudbrightshire, numbering thirty-four figures, and
embracing probably over two hundred examples, includes but four eases
of plain concentric rings.'

I may liave overlooked some instances, but it will be seen from the
preceding statements how extremelj- rare plain concentric circles are on
this class of monuments. When we tuin to the incised cist stones we
find that the contrary is tlie case.

On a cist cover at Cragie Hill, Linlithgowshire, there are carved nine
groups of concentric circles. Of this number two show cups— one is
doubtful — and in the centres of the remaining six there are no cup-

At Caerlowrie, Edinburglishire, a cist cover was found incised with
"three series at least of concentric circles," each set composed of five
concentric circles. It is not stated whether these had central cups
or not '

At Curnwath, Lanarkshire, a cist cover is incised with three groups
of plain concentric circles, and some triangular cuttings.''

At Cunninghar, Tillicoultry, near Stii-ling, a cist cover was found,
incised with several groups of plain concentric circles. In the cist was a
richly decorated urn, of the " food-vessel" type. The inteimeut is ascribed
to the Bronze Age. This example is, therefore, important as an indepen-
dent check on the period in which concentric circle markings are to be


At High Hucklow, Derbyshire, a fragment of a slab, probably an

' Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. x.xi.v. = Simpson, p. 7, pi. .xv.

» Simpson, p. 2S. < Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. x., p. 62.

' Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. xxix., p. 190.


urn cover, has cut ou it a gronii of se^-en concentric circles without central
cup.' Two slabs found in a tumulus at Came Down, Dorsetshire,
associated with an urn and calcined bones, had a group of concentric
circles cut on each of them, also without central cups."

Cist stones and urn covers are very rarely sculptured in any w^iy.
They have been occasionally found with cup and eup-and-oircle markings,
in some instances with radial grooves (Simpson, pp. 27-31). But, tliough
rare as a class, the preceding examples show that in proportion to the
number of examples, plain concentric circles are common on cist stones,
whereas, as already stated, they are extremely rare on rock-surfaces and

Takiug this fact in connexion with the association in so many cases
of the spiral with sepulchral and megalithic structures, and the associa-
tion of the spiral with concentric circles on the Maughanby stone and the
(Jalder .stones, we can say that the spiral and concentric circles are to be
expected on tumuli and cist stones, but are to be regarded as exceptional
on rock-surfaces and boulder-stones.

There appears to be no reason to, believe that the prevailing associa-
tion of the spiral and concentric circles with megalithic structures, as
distinguished from rocks and boulder-stones, is due to the appropriation
of tliose forms of markings to a particular class of monuments. The co-
existence of spirals, concentric circles, cups, and cup-and-circles, on tlie
Calder stones ; the presence of cup-and-circle markings in company with
plain concentric circles on cist stones ; and the occasional occurrence of
the cup-aud-circle with radial groove, in association with interments; as
-also the presence of the spiral on rock-surfaces, shows that no strict
division of types can be made according to class of monument.

The evidence, though less clear than in Ireland, seems to tend to
similar conclusions : namely, that the spiral and concentric circle were
introduced into Scotland and England in the Bronze Age, and are to be
dissociated, in the first instance, witli the sepulchral monuments of that
period ; that the concentric circles on the cist stones represent the tradi-
tion of tlie spiral ornament or symbol ; and that, some time after the
introduction of the spiral and concentric circle, when the custom of com-
bining the circle with the cup-mark, or of emphasising the centres of
■circles by the cup-mai-k, had become general, the practice of incising
these markings was extended to rook-surfaces and boulder-stones; lastly,
that the cup-and-circle, with gutter or radial grooves — a type common
on rocks and boulder-stones, but rare on sepulchral stones — is probably
the latest of the series.

Coucerniug the origin of the type of the cup-and-circle with gutter
leading from the cup, I have not succeeded in finding a satisfactory clue.

' Simpson, p. 62. - Wame's " Celtic Tumuli of Dorset," p. 3G. Simpson, pi. xii.


Isolated cups are frequently joined hj channels or gutters, and in many
instances several cups are connected together hy a system of gutters,
without any apparent definite plan or purpose. This is also the case

with cup-and-circle markings.

Tlie grooves or gutters from


\ the cups of the Litter fre-

quently connect with other

cup - and - circles, sometimes

with complex ramifications.

^^ The cup with concentric

^W W\ X I r X circles and single radial groove

^^ ^ ^ \jO 1 1 however, definite in form, and

J y^\ 11 '*' apparently, the key to the

question. In some instances

Fig. 9.5.— (After Holmberg.) two or more radial grooves

occur ; as, for example, at

Mevagh, county Donegal ; ' and, in some other instances, the enclosing

circles are stopped or gapped along a radius; so that the groove to the

cup is replaced by what may be described as a path.

Some remarkable cup-and-ring sculptures at Ilkley, Yorkshire, have
recently been published by Mr. Eomilly Allen.- They show two grooves
proceeding, in most cases, from one of the inner rings surrounding the
cup — rarely from the cup itself. These grooves are prolonged beyond
the outer ring, and the space between them is barred across like a ladder.
This type has not been observed in Ireland.

Mr. Allen seeks to connect this and the usual gutter type with
certain conventional or symbolical representations of men in the rock-
sculptures of Sweden. Fig. 95, after Holmberg, indicates the line of
Mr. Allen's inquiry. The figures can be related to figures of men with
rayed heads, in ships, on the small bronze knives found in women's
graves in Denmark ; and Mr.

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