Cairnholy New Find

Hi Folks,

Just thought i would let you know about the new find at Cairnholy, which i finally got to see yesterday. Just before christmas i was lucky enough to sell prints of some of my Cairnholy images. I met the couple, a really nice couple and found out why they were buying the images and where the lived, they had bought the old barn steading at Cairnholy and were rebuilding it for their home. They were buying the images for presents for their family over Newcastle way. As i was talking to them, they mentioned finding a carved stone whilst rebuilding one of the walls, this grabbed my attention. I asked if i could pop along and see the stone at some point when the weather was better. So yesterday was that day, and i was not disappointed, a new find for Cairnholy, which i have named panel 11. I did have the feeling that the stone was a burial stone, either a cist cover or perhaps an internal stone, similar to the one found inside Cairnholy 1.These are just a couple of images from the day.

Cairnholy New Find

Cairnholy New Find

close up views..



I will be sending a report to D&E to cover this excellent new find.

Many thanks to Julie & Barry McDonald.


23 Responses to Cairnholy New Find

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  2. Excellent photos, cheers ads

  3. rockartwolf says:

    Hi Folks,

    just to confirm i have been in touch with Julie and Barry and they are allowing me to bring the stone to the RAM, so hopefully we can try a little of the old Rich magic, see what the 3d image brings out.



  4. rockrich says:

    That would be dandy Brian, but only if it’s not putting you and the McDonalds to any trouble. Would you have room in ya motor amongst all the flash guns and tripods?;-)

    Just a thought, could it be worth giving photogrammetry a whirl? Because if the rings are there, judging from the depth of fracture there’s something interesting going on perspective and viewing angle wise…

  5. tiompan says:

    That’ll be good .


  6. Hob says:

    Heh! That would be mint Brian. I like the idea of taking a carved stone out and about to visit some of it’s distant relatives.

    Looking at the photos again, and doing a bit of photoshoppery, I can convince myself that the rings continue. So I’m flip flopping. I guess the old truism stands, that you just can’t really tell from a photo.

    I’m pretty sure on one thing, that if a flake broke off, it wouldn’t leave any kind of ghost motif. I’ve had it happen a couple of times when carving sandstone, and have never sen such an effect. Also, the motif at West Shaftoe shows a definite bit of flaking, and no trace of any motif on the newer surface.

  7. rockartwolf says:

    Hi Folks.

    i might try and speak to my friends at Cairnholy and see if it was possible to take the portable on a little journey around RAM time?…would that interest any of you?


  8. rockartuk says:

    Thanks for the detailed pics, mate!
    That broken off piece of stone with partial rings must be somewhere around there. If you find it and glue it back in place…… this discussion is over!
    Otherwise, some of us would want to see/feel the slab -as George calls it- “in the flesh”.

  9. rockrich says:

    cheers Brian – hhhmmmm??

  10. rockrich says:

    Brian, hope you don’t mind, I pilfered this image & created a negative. The rings (pending Mr C’s photographic effects) do look complete.

    I quite like your theory about rather than being re-carved, they’re leftovers – t’would explain the depth.

  11. rockartuk says:

    Hi Brian,
    Would it be possible to fabricate a small cut-out of the broken off area from the original (high-res!) copy of the following photo:
    and add it to the main post?
    I’m more or less sure that it will show less continuation of the rings than what we had hoped for.

    PS: When done, I will remove the photo from the collection for the McDonald’s privacy.

  12. rockartwolf says:

    Funny, i never noticed at the time, the seeminly continuation of the rings onto the broken section, recarved after damage, or is it possible to lose a number of layers of rock and yet still keep a faint image of the carving? interesting.

  13. GraemeC says:

    Nice bit of speculating there Rich – scores 9/10 with the judges.
    i will hold off going into full speculation mode incase the rings in the broken section are some odd photographic effect.
    The break does look quite sharp edged + notice how the opposite side is damaged on the other cup and ring.
    Thats what you get when you employ I Bodgit and Sons to build your chambers cairns 🙂 nothing changes!

  14. rockartwolf says:

    Hi Folks,

    To be honest, i don’t think that Rich and his timetable ideas are to far from the mark..

    I must admit i felt the missing part of the rock was lost after carving. I would possibly think, but do not know, that the damage may well have happened between the placing of the stone within the wall and present day. It was hard to pick out details on the rock itself, alot more detail is picked up using the side flash. I did feel it would have been used within a chamber context though.

    Brian…anyhoo i love taking photos.

  15. rockrich says:

    Yep George, the rings certainly aren’t apparent on all images, I can make parts out(ish) on 3 of the 5 BRAC pics.

    Graeme…how far up the daft scale are we allowed to speculate? …well I’m going straight for top with this one anyway:

    1. It was carved for inclusion within a chamber, similar to Cairnholy 2a
    2. the chamber was started and carved stone set upright
    3. during the chambers building, the stone got knocked and that bit fell off
    4. The complete rings were important, partial rings meant something completely different from the intended message / meaning, so they were re-carved in situ
    5. It was difficult to carve within the confines of the chamber, so the rings weren’t re-etched to the same depth.
    6. The chamber was destroyed on 24 May 1737, a barn was built from the remnants of this dastardly deed, with this stone incorporated into the structure.
    7. 2008 barn got knocked down
    8. Owners find it
    9. 2009 Brian and Suz turns up.

    Now if that doesn’t win the February 2009 award for ‘Non evidenced, assumptive, nonsensical based theories’ nothing will 🙂

  16. tiompan says:

    Certainly on one of the pics it looks like the rings continue but it is less evident on another couple.
    Whats the physical analysis Brian ?


  17. Graemec says:

    Well spotted rich -i did not notice that and wondered what you were on about before (forget blue bucket – its hawk eye from now on 🙂 )

    I must admit when i saw the original photo’s above, it briefly crossed my mind if it could be a ‘modern’ attempt at cup and ring carving as the profile of the rings looked some how very ’rounded’. Probably an aspect of the sidelighting – as the normal shot of the rock looked more like the real deal.
    so lets get speculating………..

  18. rockrich says:

    I think this pic best demonstrates what I mean:

    From this angle, you can see how the rings continue into the bit that’s fractured off. So, does this hint at breaking during carving or the rings being completed significantly after breakage – given the discolouration?

  19. Hob says:

    Oho. Pointless musings? Count me in.

    I rexkon it’s broken off after carving, as there’s a difference in colour. The broken bit isn’t as bleached looking.

  20. rockrich says:

    Definitely a thing of stoney beauty!!

    what makes this stone unusual for me, is how the rings on the smaller motif continue into and across the bit thats fractured off. Usually rings stop at such things, or are carved fully within pieces quarried away or broken(North Plantation etc ) Me wonders whether it broke off during carving and Mr Uglo(well known carver in those parts) thought ‘oh sod it, I’ll finish the intended design anyway’… I take pointless musings to new levels I know 🙂

  21. Gavin says:

    That’s a bit tasty Brian.
    Nice photos too.


  22. rockartwolf says:

    Cheers Jan,

    A good start to the year and good to get back to some rock art, the weather so far hasn’t been too good for getting out there. Many thanks to Julie and Barry for allowing me to visit and view the stone.


  23. rockartuk says:

    Congrats Brian!
    It doesn’t happen every day that a brand new panel is found in such a well researched area.
    A great start of the 2009 rock art year.
    More pics already on BRAC:

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