Cambret Moor – old drill holes

Hi Folks,

Just looking for some thoughts on this panel which was classified as Cambret Moor 2, it was claimed to have 12 or 13 cups, when Morris visited the site back in the day, he immediately classified them as drill holes, which they are. My question is are the fairly recent drill holes, or something a wee bit older?

any thoughts?

cambret-2-brac-1 cambret moor 2

cambret-2-brac-3 cambret moor 2




8 Responses to Cambret Moor – old drill holes

  1. Hob says:

    I don’t think it’s totally wishful thinking Brian. I rememebr Steve Grey on tma posting a thing about the evidence for BA Egyptian drilling. Seems the modus operandi was to use pipes and abrasives to slowly perforate stuff. The same techinque was mooted for those mace head things that pop up every now and then.

    Having said that, the first thought in my cynical head was that this Cambret example might be the result of deliberate defacing. But I’m not really convinced about that. It just looks weird.

    If there are no other examples of such drilling in the area, then it’s proximity to the carvings must be a statistically significant thing.

  2. stewart says:

    I’m glad this split stone has bothered someone else and not just me. I came across this same split stone eight or nine years ago on my way back up from a site at bottom of the slope at Cambret. I could not work it out. The slab which had been split off was still lying there. It seemed a lot of effort to go to and then just discard. It also seemed an unlikely place to be quarrying stone in the modern era, I mean you couldn’t get a van down there to cart it off and no-one would be likely to drag it back up to the road in a wheelbarrow. I once came across a row of similarly sized holes which had been drilled into a similar chunk of rocky outcrop on a hilltop above Tighnabruach. I too thought of ancient man making slabs for cist covers!


  3. rockartwolf says:

    Hi Gavin,

    To be honest when i first went to the site over 2 years ago, following in the footsteps of Morris, i found the stone that had been recorded as 12 or so cup marks, Morris quite rightly classified them as drill holes, and i agreed fully. The holes were so obvious as drilled, and i linked them to some form of quarry working. I know there are no other examples of quarried stones or drilled stones in the area that i have found so far, so this is the only example, then you look at the huge worked area on top of Cambret Hill with the masts, and perhaps some linking there. It is still strange to see a superb carved stone only 20 ft apart from a stone that looks like it has been drilled in modern times, but that is our world i suppose.
    I didn’t think anymore about the drill holes, but as i mentioned the only reason it popped back in my head was when i watched the Standing with Stone dvd again, Rupert Soskin seems to have a thing for drill holes..i wanted to see if anyone else had any thoughts on his theories?.
    If i was honest i have always thought they were modern drill holes and i still do, but it would be nice to think of ancient man finding a way of stitch drilling rocks to make cist covers etc..
    wishful thinking perhaps.


  4. Gavin says:

    Hi Bri
    The drill holes in this case were created to hold a plug and feathers. This is a very simple and effective way of quarrying rock which has been used throughout the world.
    You use a hand held drill to make the hole ( round or flat) then you insert the feathers and plug. The plug is a metal wedge inserted between a ‘V’ shaped piece of metal, the feathers, you place a number of these in a line along the stone and then you hit them causing the stone to split along the line.
    I suspect what has happened to your stone is that it has correctly split along the vertical plane but the split along the horizontal plane was for some reason, unsatisfactory and the stone was abandoned.
    For this to happen in Prehistory you’d need the right tools, I guess copper or bronze would do the job, so the next step would be to find the evidence for this method of quarrying in one or two of the many monuments in the neighbourhood of this particular rock.
    If there are no quarrying marks on any of the local prehistoric monuments then it would be a good guess to say that this method was not employed and therefore the marks on this stone are probably not prehistoric.

    that’s my tuppence worth.

  5. rockartuk says:

    Could have been a try-out, just to see what would happen using this new invented stuff. For obvious reasons the open field was chosen instead of the old outcrop behind the local church.
    At Corrie (Stirling) is a drill hole just in the middle of a cup; what better starting point can you have?

  6. rockartwolf says:

    Hi Folks,

    Where the stone is Jan, i cannot see any point in modern man drilling a single rock amongst all the stones lying on the moor, apart from clearing the landscape, but the stone was left where it was broken off.
    Only a short distance away you have a number of cists and other monuments, stone circle, cairns, carvings, would the stone drilled and broken off not make a perfect cist cover. Drill holes exactly the same can be seen at sites such as Castlruddery in Ireland or Fernworthy in Dartmoor, maybe something worth looking at?
    oooh am i going off my head or what?


  7. rockartuk says:

    Hello Brian,
    Nice pics, thanks!
    What’s a drilling hole without something to put in?
    Yeah……. Dynamite! From the web:
    “Nitroglycerin was first invented by Italian chemist Ascanio Sobrero in 1846. In its natural liquid state, nitroglycerin is very volatile. Albert Nobel understood this and in 1866 he discovered that mixing nitroglycerine with silica would turn the liquid into a malleable paste, called dynamite. One advantage of dynamite over nitroglycerin was that it could be cylinder-shaped for insertion into the drilling holes used for mining.”
    So the holes date probably back to the end of the 19th Century.

  8. Gavin says:

    Hi Bri
    I believe you have stumbled upon a very rare example of an ogham stutter.

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