Scheduled Monument

Milton of Farr, cupmarks 110m SE ofSM11556

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cupmarks or cup-and-ring marks and similar rock art
Local Authority
Daviot And Dunlichity
NH 68384 32520
268384, 832520


The monument comprises a large earthfast boulder bearing prehistoric symbols between 3500 and 5000 years old known as cupmarks (pecked and/or ground circular depressions). The boulder is situated at NH 68384 32520 and lies in improved pasture on a gentle slope near the edge of a wood at 200m above sea level, between the rivers Nairn and Farnack in Upper Strathnairn.

The boulder is isolated from several other large boulders in the same field and measures 2.9m from NE to SW by 2.6m transversely and 0.9m in height at its SW end. The surface is inclined towards the NE. The boulder bears at least 30 cupmarks up to 90mm in diameter. The cupmarks are unevenly weathered although the best preserved are up to 400mm deep.

Prehistoric rock art (cupmarks, cup-and-ring marks and related designs) are found on Bronze-Age and Neolithic funerary and ritual monuments, such as the Clava cairns in Strathnairn, and also on exposed rock surfaces or natural boulders. Why such hollows and grooves were carefully pecked or ground into stones is unknown. There are many theories about the purpose of cupmarks which are generally thought to have had some religious or ritual symbolism rather than being simply decorative art.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the cupmarked boulder and an area around in which associated evidence for its use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is a well-preserved example of a form of rock art probably dating to the Neolithic or Bronze Age. The large number of cupmarks present on the boulder makes it particularly distinctive. Excavations in Ireland and Scotland, as well as Scandinavia, are now finding archaeological evidence for human activity in the immediate vicinity of such carvings.

Contextual characteristics: The monument is one of many ritual prehistoric monuments in the region. Here as in other parts of Scotland there is a close correlation between the distribution of rock art and certain types of Neolithic and Bronze Age funerary and ritual monuments. For example, Strathnairn contains several cemeteries of Clava cairns which themselves incorporate cupmarked stones. Comparing this monument's form and location to similar monuments in Strathnairn and elsewhere in NE Scotland would contribute to our understanding of regional identity and society in the prehistoric period.

National importance: This monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved example of prehistoric rock art. Carvings such as these remain an intriguing enigma. It is probable that the monument relates to a wider prehistoric ritual landscape in Strathnairn. Therefore it has the potential to contribute to the understanding of funerary practice and prehistoric society in this locality and Scotland as a whole. The loss of the monument would damage our future ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.



RCAHMS record the monument as NH63SE320; Highland Council SMR as NH63SE0032.


Beckensall S 1999, BRITISH PREHISTORIC ROCK ART, Tempus.

RCAHMS 1994, UPPER STRATHNAIRN, INVERNESS: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY, Edinburgh, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

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Printed: 02/04/2023 06:14