Cochno Stone reburied
The “most important Neolithic cup and ring marked rock art panel in Europe”, which was unearthed for the first time in 50 years near a housing estate on the outskirts of Glasgow, has been reburied to protect the national treasure.
The Cochno Stone, dating back to 3000BC, is considered to be one of the best examples of Neolithic or Bronze Age cup and ring markings in Europe, and had been fully excavated for the first time since it was buried in 1965 to protect it from vandalism.
The stone, which lies on land next to a housing estate near Faifley, in West Dunbartonshire, is regarded as one of the United Kingdom’s most important, but also one of its most neglected, prehistoric sites.
The two week excavation, lead by archaeologists from the University of Glasgow and digital scanning and mapping experts from the Factum Foundation, provided an opportunity to use cutting-edge 3D imaging technology to make a detailed digital record of the site.
It is hoped the digital mapping and data of the Cochno Stone could shine more light on its history, its purpose and the people who created the artwork around 5,000 years ago.
Dr Kenny Brophy, from the University of Glasgow who specialises in urban archaeology, lead the excavation and described the experience of seeing the stone for the first time in 51 years as a "once in a life time opportunity".
"The Cochno Stone is something I had heard about as a boy, historically it is well documented, but I was not able to see it until now.
"It is emotional when you have worked on a project such as this, touched it, walked on it and closely examined it, to then rebury it but for now that is what we have to do to protect it from the elements. But there has been a lot of public interest in the stone throughout this project, many local people have come and visited it while we have been working here, and there does seem to be a strong opinion that this should be open for all to see and learn from.
"Perhaps in the future this site could be turned into a major tourist attraction in Scotland, with a visitor centre, who knows."
First published: 22 September 2016