Cup marks or are they?

Cup marks is a type of rock art, in Småland these represent the most usual type of rock art. In Kronoberg County there are ca 540 sites where rock art has been registered (see FMIS). With a site I mean (in this case) that one or several carved, engraved or polished figures have been made on flat rocks or on boulders. The cup marks found in these parts are often ca 3-6 cm in diameter and 0,5-2 cm in depth. It is assumed that most of these are from the Bronze Age, though there are those that are assumed to be older and younger some from the Middle Ages or more recent periods. I

“Standard” Smålandic prehistoric cup marks made upon a boulder.

Cup marks Berg 52

They are not that easy to spot, as they do not have sharp edges, their edges are smooth and this makes near to invisible, there fore I have made a ring around one of them.

Cup mark

A few days ago a colleague and me visited one of these sites. As we studied the cup marks we began discussing wheatear or not these particular cup marks where cup marks or not. These cup marks have a mark after a chisel at the bottom why we argue that these probably are due to more modern activities, probably to make holes to dived big boulders like this one. This particular boulder has been split into at least two parts. Normally the cup marks look like they have been grinded or polished.

Remains that resembles like “cup marks” with chisel marks

Cup mark?

 Cup marks?

We are open to other interpretations as well though we believe that ours is a plausible one.

Magnus Reuterdahl

About Magnus Reuterdahl

I am an archaeologist/Osteologist from Sweden. My main intrest lays in north Euorpean archaeology in, preferbly the prehistory of the late iron age and the neolithic periods. I've also got a strong intrest for Chinese archaeology, especially the neolithc Yangshao culture. I also write about cultural heritage and cultural history. Mitt namn är Magnus Reuterdahl, jag är arkeolog och osteolog och arbetar företrädesvis i Sverige även om jag gjort ett par vändor till Kina. På den här bloggen skriver jag om mitt yrke, om fornlämningar, kulturarv och kulturhistoria m m. View all posts by Magnus Reuterdahl

2 responses to “Cup marks or are they?

  • George Currie

    Hello Magnus ,
    pics 1,2 and 4 look like cup marks , as I know them from the UK , but pic 3 looks very doubtful .


  • Magnus Reuterdahl

    Hi George

    I do agree with you, though the marks in pic 4 have marks in bottom that makes me doubtful as well (they are not as visible as the one in pic 3). There are mainly two things that make me doubtful in this case.
    1) When cup-marks are of age (pre-historic) the walls becomes very fine, more or less grinded.
    2.) They do not normally have chisel marks in the bottom.

    Pic 1 and 2 fulfills the criteria of prehistoric cup-marks and are good examples of rock art from the Swedish province Småland.


    Magnus Reuterdahl

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