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The Clyde Mystery

The following is from The Clyde Mystery by Andrew Lang:

XVII--Disputed Objects Classified

Dr. Munro classifies the disputed objects as Weapons, Implements, "Amulets" or Pendants, Cup-and-Ring Stones, "Human Figurines or Idols."

For reasons of convenience, and because what I heard about group 3, the "amulets or pendants" first led me into this discussion, I shall here first examine them. Dr. Munro reproduces some of them in one plate (xv. p. 228). He does not say by what process they are reproduced; merely naming them . . . "objects of slate and stone from Dumbuck."

Dr. Munro describes the "amulets" or "pendants" thus:

"The largest group of objects (plate XV.) consists of the so-called amulets or pendants of stone, shale, and shell, some fifteen to twenty specimens of which have been preserved and recorded as having been found on the different stations, viz., three from Dunbuie (exclusive of a few perforated oyster shells), eleven from Dumbuck, and one from Langbank. Their ornamentation is chiefly of the cup-and-ring order, only a few having patterns composed of straight lines. Some of them are so large as to be unfit to be used as amulets or pendants, such, for example, as that represented by no. 14, which is 9 inches long, 3.5 inches broad, and 0.5 inch thick. The ornamentation consists of a strongly incised line running downwards from the perforation with small branch lines directed alternately right and left. Any human being, who would wear this object, either as an ornament or religious emblem, would be endowed with the most archaic ideas of decorative art known in the history of human civilisation. Yet we can have no doubt that the individual who manufactured it, if he were an inhabitant of any of the Clyde sites, was at the same time living in a period not devoid of culture, and was in possession of excellent cutting implements, most likely of iron, with which he manipulated wood, deer-horn, and other substances. These objects are nearly all perforated, as if intended for suspension, but sometimes, in addition to this, there is a large central hole around which there is always an ornamentation, generally consisting of incised circles or semicircles, with divergent lines leading into small hollow points, the so-called cup-marks."

I shall return to the theory that the stones were "ornaments"; meanwhile I proceed to the consideration of "cup-marks" on stones, large or small.

XVIII--Cup Marks in Crannogs - Footnotes


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