Archaeologists Discover Rock Art That May Form Part Of A Circle Of Neolithic Sites Around Glasgow, Scotland

Mysterious ring carvings in rocks have been found in over 2,000 different locations around Glasgow.

Ancient rock art sites forming a circle around Neolithic settlements have been found in Glasgow, Scotland.
Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Mysterious ring carvings in rocks have been found in over 2,000 different locations around Glasgow.

New research has shown that Glasgow, Scotland may have once favored the prehistoric individual as a large number of rock art sites have been found around the city, pointing to what was most likely a large ring of Neolithic settlements.

As The Scotsman report, archaeologists are well aware that there were ancient settlements around the city as long as 10,000 years ago. What they didn’t know, however, is that there may have once been a circle of them around Glasgow.

Part of the reason for this lack of evidence may be attributed to the accidental destruction of artifacts from Neolithic sites while the city was in the process of being built.

The new details on the mysterious rock art sites that are believed to circle Glasgow come as Scotland’s Rock Art Project are busy trying to accurately capture and record other ancient ring carvings that have been discovered in over 2,000 different locations. Archaeologists believe that the vast majority of these designs are around 5,000 years of age.

While no one is quite certain yet just what these rock carvings represent, numerous theories abound. Some are of the opinion that the art may have served as astronomical maps or territorial markers, while others believe they may have been used in some kind of rituals. There is also the perfectly valid idea that they may have been created for no reason other than pure artistic enjoyment.

Dr. Tertia Barnett, who works with Scotland’s Rock Art Project, explained that around 14 to 15 different types of rock art have been discovered around the housing estate of Faifley.

“There is probably an awful lot more in this area. There is actually a ring of sites around Glasgow. My suspicion is that Faifley is a relic of a much more expansive spread of rock art and I think it offers a really important little glimpse of what might have been around Glasgow. It is really important that it is protected and recorded.”

Dr. Barnett believes that Neolithic settlers would have flocked to areas like these given the fact that there would have been extremely good farming available. There would also have been the added bonus that settlements around Glasgow would have been very helpful when it came to transportation routes and trade.

“It is likely the Clyde was an important artery, connecting different areas to the sea and to the islands. From Faifley it would have been easy to get round the coast to Bute and Arran, for example. People would have traveled by water instead of through the wooded interior of the country and people were generally concentrated in the coastal regions.”

It was in Faifley that the very special Cochno Stone was retrieved in 2015 and 2016. This delicate display of cup and ring rock art measures in at 42 feet by 22 feet and is widely believed to be one of the most important Neolithic pieces of art in all of Europe.

The Cochno Stone is just one of many different examples of ancient rock art discovered near Glasgow, and with Scotland’s Rock Art Project archaeologists may one day be able to accurately map out what they believe to be a large circle of Neolithic settlements around the city.