Rock art from a Bronze Age burial at Balblair, near Inverness
Burial, Burial Cairn, rock art, Food Vessel, pottery
Balblair; Inverness; Highland; Scotland; UK
Early Bronze Age, Bronze Age
This report presents the findings of archaeological excavations undertaken on the heavily denuded remains of a Bronze Age burial cairn at Balblair, near Inverness, during 2004. Little information was recovered about the cairn, other than a ground plan, and the single central cist had been opened and emptied in the past, leaving only a few sherds of Food Vessel-style pottery with which to date the monument. The cist itself proved to be of much greater interest with all three of the surviving side slabs bearing rock art. In two cases this comprises small cup marks and a perforation but the third slab bears a large cup mark and perforation, and complex carved design without obvious parallel in Scottish prehistoric rock art. An analysis of the cist slabs concludes that, although the main slab is exceptional in its design, the site as a whole conforms to our current understanding of ‘single grave art’ and the use/re-use of rock art in the early Bronze Age.