Scots museum and archeology organisation unearth prehistoric art

A SCOTS museum has joined forces with an archaeology organisation in anticipation of an exciting upcoming project.

Kilmartin Museum and Archaeology Scotland have joined together for a collaborative project which will shed new light on Scotland’s prehistoric art in the Kilmartin Glen area.

Ancient rocks in Orkney. (C) Maxwell Andrews/Unplash.

Activities will include recording and conservation work, and the ground surrounding the carvings will be carefully excavated by hand.

Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, and landowner Rosemary Neagle, the project aims to highlight the importance of community engagement and participatory archaeology.

It will also contribute to Kilmartin Museum’s Community Archaeology Programme – a major activity which is part of the Museum’s ongoing Redevelopment Project.

The project is due to commence on 18 September and will see many archaeologists, students and volunteers come together to investigate three rock panels at Carnasserie Farm, in Argyll and Bute – where many Neolithic and Bronze Age artefacts have been discovered.

The fascinating rock sites are thought to be approximately five thousand years old and strategically located at the crossroads of ancient routes.

This unique positioning allows the relationship between rock art, routeways, nearby monuments, and the broader landscape to be studied.

The farm also features an unusually high concentration of carvings, characterised by cup and ring motifs, which have long fascinated researchers.

If the Carnasserie excavations reveal comparable evidence, there is potential for this to date the creation of the carvings, or it may be associated with environmental evidence which can help determine the landscape’s appearance.

The team will also collaborate with experts from the University of Glasgow to employ techniques such as p-XRF and Raman Spectroscopy to try and determine whether pigments were applied to the rocks.

This project is committed to fostering community engagement and inclusivity.

It provides valuable training opportunities in archaeological excavation for participants, including New Scots and underrepresented groups in archaeology, local school groups, and volunteers.

In alignment with Scottish Archaeology Month, the project’s Open Day is scheduled for Saturday 23 September 2023 and will offer guided tours at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm.

The public are invited to witness the excavation process first-hand and learn about the cultural significance of these ancient rock art panels.

School visits during both weeks and a visit from a local Girl Guides group on 24 September will further enhance community involvement.

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