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Ancient British Rock Art

1 Sitting on a hillside at one particularly extensive site near Kilmartin, early on a warm summers morning, waiting for the sun to rise above the pine forest and illuminate the wonderful range of carvings, I realised that there may never be any explanation for these ancient designs. I often feel that my own involvement with this subject is as much of a mystery as the images themselves. However, perhaps we are often so preoccupied with the process of rationalisation that we lose sight of our original attraction and involvement, which was, for me, largely aesthetic. On this occasion the simple fact of being in this remote and beautiful place, with these mysterious images, was explanation enough. The Kilmartin Valley, in Argyllshire, is only one of many sites in Great Britain and Ireland which exhibit ancient rock carvings. Having visited this area some years earlier without time to explore some of the more remote sites I had always intended to return. There is, simply, a treasure chest of prehistoric features with decorated burial chambers, standing stones, stone alignments and circles and a wealth of rock carvings. It is almost like a gazetteer of the finest evidence of our ancient culture. In Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Galloway in Scotland and in County Meath in Ireland there are also extensive examples of carvings displaying many IntroductIon Kilmartin Valley, Ormaig, Achnabreck Carnwath Dod Law, Roughting Linn, Old Bewick Balcraig, Cauldside Burn Barningham Moor Ilkley, Rombalds Moor, Rowtor Rocks Barclodiad y Gawres Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth, Loughcrew Some important sites mentioned in the text. Clava Cairns Chris Mansell
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