Capelrig Cross at Rouken Glen Visitor Centre, Glasgow, Scotland.

This evening, I am reporting on two very ancient links with Scotland’s distant history, namely an early medieval cross and prehistoric rock carvings. The two are linked by proximity, maybe just a mile or two apart, five miles south of Glasgow, but distanced by time in that the rock carvings predate the cross by around two to five thousands years.

Firstly, the cross, as represented by the remaining shaft as illustrated above and immediately below, is constructed of sandstone and for about one thousand years was exposed to the elements in a fixed open landscape position which explains the extensive weathering and loss of the cross-bar. The structure, together with base, was rescued from an open field as recently as 1926.

There are other examples of free-standing crosses from the early medieval period in S.W. Scotland such as the Arthurlie Cross in Barrhead (near Glasgow), which is still in situ.

The Capelrig Cross is attributed to the Govan School of sculpture which was active during the 9th-11th centuries AD and illustrated the merging of a wide range of cultures including Pictish, Irish, Viking and Northumbrian. Close examination reveals the high quality craftsmanship of the carved, interlaced panels.

Video clip of Capelrig Cross, Glasgow

Next, we visit an exposed rock surface on open ground at the boundary of Rouken Glen Park. This surface is heavily embellished with ‘cup’ markings which are relatively common in Scotland but cannot be dated with certainty. However, consensus view is that the markings date from the prehistoric period, possibly between 1000 BC and 3000 BC which is contemporary with stone circle use. Purpose of the carvings is not known but considerable time and energy was involved in ‘pecking’ out the indentations with stone tools. Clearly, the carvings had significance to the peoples of the day.

Initial, visual inspection suggests about three cup marks but closer examination of the photographic image indicates possibly twelve or more.

Prehistoric cup marks on exposed rock at Rouken Glen, Glasgow

Video clip of cup marked rock at Rouken Glen Park, Glasgow

Both cross and cup markings can be found at Rouken Glen Park.

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