cup marks

Robert Adam (RCAHMS) – Edinburgh

Edinburgh. ‘Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011’

Edinburgh. ‘Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011’

Robert Adam, RCAHMS (copyright RCAHMS)

Robert Adam, RCAHMS (copyright RCAHMS)

I’m Robert Adam and I am the Aerial Photographer with the Aerial Survey Team, recording all aspects of the historic landscape that makes Scotland what it is. In my twenty-nine years as photographer with the RCAHMS, I have had the good fortune to travel the country and photograph both architecture and archaeology from the air and on the ground.Not being an archaeologist hasn’t prevented me from appreciating, learning and understanding the basics of the subject. However, like many other non archaeologists, I always thought that archaeology was found in the hinterlands of any country. From the farm land fields of Scotland, of which I have photographed many a crop mark site to the highland clearance areas through to an Indiana Jones type of site set in the deserts.

However, I found that you do not need to travel further than your front door to encounter an archaeological site. I live in the south side of Edinburgh and found only recently the Caiystane near Oxgangs Road, a standing stone with weathered cup markings. Nothing particularly outstanding, and one of many in the area.

Drawing showing view of six standing stones and wayside crosses. No.1 the Caiy Stane. Copyright RCAHMS (DP050277)

Drawing showing view of six standing stones and wayside crosses. No.1 the Caiy Stane. Copyright RCAHMS (DP050277)

 

There are several suggestions as to the origin and purpose of the stone. The stone may have been erected in the Neolithic period and marks a burial. Others suggest it commemorates the site of a battle between the Picts and the Romans.

General view of the Caiystane. Copyright RCAHMS (DP092799)

General view of the Caiystane. Copyright RCAHMS (DP092799)

 

 

 

It’s a fairly featureless piece of stone and not what you’d call attractive, but it’s where it’s sited that makes it fascinating: smack dab in the middle of a housing estate. It is a site with an interesting and unknown history; nestled somewhat inconspicuously within the estate that many people must pass in a day not giving it a second look.

This is what I’ve chosen for Day of Archaeology, but why not tell us your favourite archaeological sites in Scotland on Twitter using #MyArchaeology.