Rock Carvings – Scoor

Rock Carvings, Scoor

These carvings can be found in a cave at the head of a narrow inlet on the rocky shore 550 m SSW of Scoor, near Bunessan, Ross of Mull.  The cave is 4 m wide at the mouth and 15 m deep, and the maximum height of the roof is about 8 m.  Both walls are decorated with many symbols at heights between 0.4 m and 1.8 m above the floor.  However, since many of the loose stones on the floor have fallen from the walls comparatively recently, presumably destroying other symbols in the process, it can be assumed that the original floor-level was at least 0.5 m lower than the present one.

About sixty of the markings are single or grouped, small, circular or oval depressions, which make no formal pattern.  About half of them are cup-shaped, averaging 50 mm in diameter and 10 mm in depth, and are indistinguishable from prehistoric cup-markings.  Many of the others, however, are conical rather than hemispherical in section, measuring up to 90 mm across and 50 mm in depth, and some appear to have been enlarged, if not created, in comparatively recent times.  The remainder include a motif closely resembling a small labyrinth device, a trident and eighteen linear incised crosses, including plain Latin and Greek crosses, crosses with expanded, barred or bifid terminals, and ringed crosses.

Since the crosses are generally similar to those found in the Nuns’ Cave, the cave may have been occupied in the Early Christian period, probably in the late 6th – 9th centuries.  No parallel has been found for the trident motif, but it probably belongs to the later, rather than to the earlier, series of carvings.

                        Grid Reference NM 418 816