Scotland's Mysterious Petroglyphs Are About to Become Visible Again

Created by people living 5,000 years ago in Scotland, the Cochno Stone is a beautiful example of ancient European "cup and ring" carving. These are created by making grooves and indentations in the rock, creating vast, swirling patterns that may have guided rivulets of liquid during ceremonies.

The Cochno Stone was covered in dirt during the 1960s because it was being damaged by visitors. But now, reports Craig Brown in The Scotsman, they may be unveiled again. Scientists and historians are still struggling to figure out what they mean:

History researcher Alexander McCallum, who has lobbied to have the stone uncovered, said there were multiple interpretations for the carvings.

He said: "Some people think that the Cochno Stone is a map showing the other settlements in the Clyde Valley – that's one of the theories. I think it was probably used for lots of things; it was never used for just one thing and over hundreds of years it changed use.

"As far as the symbolism goes, some believe it's a portal, of life and death, rebirth, a womb and a tomb – people believed in reincarnation, so they would go into the earth and then come out again."

He said it was also possible the stone had been used in sacrificial ceremonials, with milk or water poured into the grooves and channels as offerings, or that the markings were astronomical maps, showing constellations that guided prehistoric farmers' crop sewing.

Mr McCallum said similar carvings had been found around the world, including in Hawaii, India and Africa, while in Scotland they tended to be found along the west coast near the sea or rivers, often close to copper mines.

Below is a drawing of the patterns in the Cochno Stone.

Scotland's Mysterious Petroglyphs Are About to Become Visible Again

You can read more in The Scotsman

Images via The Modern Antiquarian