Culnoag; about crack guys!

Hi Folks,



Had a really good day at Culnoag on saturday, one site i have tried to visit on a number of times before but have always had to worry or deal with cows or bulls in the field. This time no such problems, although the weather wasn’t ideal, i managed to get some good images, especially using the side flash, which worked well, picking up details in the very faint carvings. The main panel itself has a number of cracks and fissures, which seem to used within the design of the motifs but also some of the carvings cut into the cracks..


Let me know your thoughts on this one folks..

I also like the main motif which is the deepest of the remaining carvings, and especially the way a cup has been used to cut through one of the outer rings, nice.



9 Responses to Culnoag; about crack guys!

  1. rockartuk says:

    Hi Brian,
    I’ve just edited your links going directly to the photos instead of all four going to the whole collection. To achieve this, right click the photo in the collection and select to open it in a new frame. Now you’ll see that the “c” in the url has changed to “p”, hence from “collection” to “photo”. Hope I picked the right pics. If not, you know how to do the trick now. Thanks!
    Wishing you good hunting at Broughton Mains and please look around for a red bag with colour pencils which I’ve left there a couple of years ago. You’ll never know!

  2. rockrich says:

    Interesting one Brian, the top motifs are wonderful examples of a likely relationship too, with small channels running into the larger elongated depressions / fissures. Another good example of this, along with framing etc is Cairnbaan:

  3. rockartwolf says:

    Hi Rich,

    Not sure i am going to be joining the cult of Naddair 😉 ,but it is certainly obvious to see examples where the cracks and fissures have been used within the designs of the carvings. A perfect example of which i will need to revisit soon is at Broughton Mains near Wigtown, a classic example of the carvings either starting or ending into a crack, fissure etc..take a look at the sketch made in 1912 and then a photo taken by Morris, then a photo taken by Jan in 2004, then one i took in 2005. 1912 Morris (galloway book 1979) Jan 2004 Brian 2005

    A very good example, makes me want to get back down there..


  4. rockrich says:

    Fascinating isn’t it Brian, I can tell before long you’ll be joining me & Mr Chappell in the Madcrack Club 🙂

    Here’s another one to ponder at Lurgan : right hand side is both fissure / glaciationless and motifless???

  5. rockartwolf says:

    You mean the one where each of the rings just stops at the fissure, indeed it is very similar to the Park of Tongland motif.
    On the other hand i am really intrigued by this motif on the panel, if you look at the photographs, markings and sketches made by Morris, it looks like the rings stop at the crack that runs the full length of the panel, but when you look at the pic with the side flash you actually see they have carried on over the crack, this i find interesting just as much as the ones that stop at the cracks or fissures.

    Or has a crack below the motif been used to make up the rings that carry on over the main length wise crack?..

  6. rockrich says:

    Hello Brian,

    I never fail to be stunned by what you folks (you, hob & Ken) pick up with side flash. For me, this is another recording methodology that sits along side the plethora of others; scanning, rubbing, drawing, photogrammetry etc. The advantage your stuff has over the others is its absolutely f-in stunning to look at, especially the context shots.

    What?? you want to hear about motifs and fissures 🙂

    Culnoag just has similar characteristics to so many other carvings I’ve noted, that being the positioning of multi-ringed motifs next to or incorporating fissures (framing). Different sites have a minimal number of rings before be-fissuredness happens, with some its 1 ring, others 2,3 etc. Here the largest motifs with 3 rings look to pay homage to the Culnoagian cracks, but it’s difficult to tell from the image size. I’m not suggesting that all multiple rings have fissures incorporated into the design, but it is apparent at many sites. Quite often the fissures make the rings incomplete, suggesting that both the fissure and the ring (outer 2 in many cases) had special meaning….. I could go off on one about ethnography, shamans entering spirit worlds, ancestors entering other worlds, animal spirits (eatable) living in stones & 8000-12000 year old animal carvings having feet disappearing into fissures at this juncture, but best not ;-)…. My favourite motif at Culnoag is the Park of Tongland 1-esque jobbie far side of the fissure:

  7. rockartwolf says:

    Hi Rich,
    I must over recent times i have taking more of an interest in the cracks and fissures and their relationships with the carvings, The panel at Culnoag seems to fit well into those possible theories, the side flash does help to highlight the things that you would not notice purely just by looking at the carvings, even on a day with the perfect conditions.
    Rich tell us what you see when you look at the panel and what thoughts you have on the fissures, cracks and motifs in this case.
    Over the next year i shall be taking a second look at alot of the panels in Galloway,and hopefully with the use of side flash pick out some lost or very faint carvings that have not been seen before. As can be seen in the Culnoag photos, i was able to see carvings that were never picked up before, by Morris, Van Hoek or Naddair.


  8. rockrich says:

    hi Brian, lovely looking thing isn’t it?…..compliments to the photographer. I saw your pics on TMA tutha day, but wasn’t going to bore you with my inane mumblings about fissure positions & multi-rings….but now you’ve mentioned it 🙂

  9. rockartuk says:

    Hi Brian,
    What a great start of the year bringing alight these fine carvings at Culnoag. You must have known that this one was high on our wish-list for years.
    It was a pleasure to add your beauties to the old b-w pics, taken by Mr Morris in 1976:
    Many thanks, mate!

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