The online Journals of California and Great Basin Anthropology have several articles which describe how cup marked rocks have been used among native American groups, – including fertility ‘baby rocks’, weather control ‘rain rocks’ and the acquisition of medicine power.
Obviously it’s another continent, but these same sort of themes crop up in the folklore connected with cup marked rocks in Europe, and illustrates the ‘global’ nature of the beliefs and practices associated with making cups and grooves on certain rocks.
Creating thunder -the western Rain making process http://escholarship.org/uc/item/7fk1p7v0
Rock art of Soxtonocmu http://escholarship.org/uc/item/8pt4v2wk
The influence of sacred rock cairns http://escholarship.org/uc/item/99h4b4q7
Petroglyph cupules in the Diablo range 1 http://escholarship.org/uc/item/2gj7b7gz
Petroglyph cupules in the Diablo range 2 http://escholarship.org/uc/item/41v1m121
The rock cairns article describes the practice of building small cairns during ‘spiritual retreats’ in the hills. Reading the article brought to mind the thousands of small cairns dotted about the upland areas of northern Britain, which archaeologists often struggle to explain. Many of them are clearly not “field” clearance, and most show no evidence of burial, with finds (if any) limited to pottery fragments or ‘deposited’ worked flint. They can occur packed together in “cairn fields” or as single isolated examples etc. The association between small cairns and carved rocks has been noted before, so perhaps there is another dimension to these cairns?
Thanks to E Breck Parkman (California state archaeologist) for pointing these articles out.