The Kilmartin Eye installation

Kilmartin Eye

The ‘Kilmartin Eye’ is an installation that weaves together art and archaeology and overlooks the major monuments of Kilmartin Glen, Argyll. It encouraged visitors to an exhibition at Kilmartin House Museum to explore the wider landscape and was supported by exhibition branding and support literature.

Visitors were encouraged to journey down the pathway & enter the ‘Kilmartin Eye’ and to imagine the visions of those who walked the Glen over four thousand years ago…

As the first monument builders in this landscape, Neolithic and Bronze Age people would have had very different understandings of the world to ourselves.  Like the places they built, the painted images you will encounter inside the ‘Eye’ were inspired by subtle qualities of the landscape.  Look carefully, and you will see shadowy forms and visions emerge; some resemble cup and ring marks, but there are many others too.  The larch timbers were harvested from a sustainable Scottish source & arranged to create an enclosed and hidden area – a sense of space that is common to many ancient sites.

Located to be contained and framed by the landscape, the ‘Eye’ has spectacular views to Dunadd and the mountains of Arran.  The ‘Eye’ also overlooks the Upper Largie Quarry, the setting for some of Kilmartin Glen's most significant archaeological monuments.  Over the past decade, archaeological excavations here have discovered Bronze Age cist burials & pits, a Neolithic cursus monument & the remains of one of Britain's largest timber circles. This emphasises the ceremonial importance of the Glen to many generations of people.

The ‘Kilmartin Eye’ was commissioned by Kilmartin House Museum in 2007 to celebrate the Museum's 10th Anniversary & the Year of Highland Culture.  It was created by artist and archaeologist Aaron Watson.  You will find more information about the ‘Eye’ and the archaeology of Kilmartin Glen at the Museum, where you will also be able to see some of the artefacts which have been excavated over the last hundred or so years by antiquarians and archaeologists.  

This project has been supported by Highland 2007, Argyll & Bute Council, Argyll & the Islands Enterprise, Awards for All, The Esmé Fairbairn Foundation, & the Scottish Museums Council.  Some materials were kindly provided by M & K MacLeods.  The ‘Kilmartin Eye’ would not have been possible without support, labour & materials provided by the Forestry Commission to whom Kilmartin House Museum is most grateful.