Excavating rock art in Strath Tay day 2: Removing the turf

Trench 1 was immediately below the outcrop, and was placed to see how far the rock extended beneath the grass, and to test for any evidence of quarrying. It was also possible that hammerstone debris from the creation of the cup marks might have tumbled in this direction.

Trench 2 was situated upon the outcrop itself, extending onto the level ground behind. This area of the rock was broken by fissures, presenting another opportunity to test for debris created during the carving of the images.


Above: Richard and Ronnie carefully removing turf from the top of the decorated rock outcrop. This work is done by hand to avoid any damage to rock art motifs (Photo: Aaron Watson, 2017)


Above: A short video of Richard and Ronnie deturfing the decorated outcrop (Video: Aaron Watson, 2017)


Trench 3 was located to explore whether one of the ‘steps’ in the outcrops was natural or artificial. It was possible that it could mark the edge of a cairn.

The weather remained changeable, and was wet at times, but late in the day the clouds withdrew, revealing an rich blue sky.

Above: A short film of Strath Tay birch trees in evening sunlight (Video: Aaron Watson, 2017)


This project took place in collaboration with Richard Bradley, Amanda Clarke, Ronnie Scott, Maria Cowie and Moyra Simon. Many thanks to the landowner and estate staff for their support.