Emerald Isle

Cup Marked Stones

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Cup Marked Stones of Ireland

Cupmarks are shallow depressions in stones and boulders, and cup-and-ring marks are the same except with one or more concentric rings around them. Some of them may have been natural in origin and were embellished by the people of the Bronze age, while others were engraved into bare stone. However they came into being, they have been a source of wonder and mystery for countless generations of Irish people.

Who made them? And what lithomancy were they trying to work? We can only speculate today.

They generally date from the end of the Neolithic and beginning of the Bronze age, and similar artwork can be found in many places across the Irish isles and Europe, as far away as Greece. Sometimes they are accompanied by rosettes or where enclosed by lines or used in addition to other rock art, all of which were pecked out using a harder stone.

They were often placed within sight of the sea or of lakes or rivers and panoramic views, where they were carved into embedded rocks, and not far from other cup and ring marks. These designs have also been found on portable rocks of small to large sizes. Some research hints they were originally painted with earth hues, ochre, red and black.


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