Concept

Cup and ring mark

Summary
Cup and ring marks or cup marks are a form of prehistoric art found in the Atlantic seaboard of Europe (Ireland, Wales, Northern England, Scotland, France (Brittany), Portugal, and Spain (Galicia) – and in Mediterranean Europe – Italy (in Alpine valleys and Sardinia), Azerbaijan and Greece (Thessaly and Irakleia (Cyclades)), as well as in Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland) and in Switzerland (at Caschenna in Grisons). Similar forms are also found throughout the world including Australia, Gabon, Greece, Hawaii, India (Daraki-Chattan), Israel, Mexico, Mozambique and the Americas. The oldest known forms are found from the Fertile Crescent to India. They consist of a concave depression, no more than a few centimetres across, pecked into a rock surface and often surrounded by concentric circles also etched into the stone. Sometimes a linear channel called a gutter leads out from the middle. The decoration occurs as a petroglyph on natural boulders and outcrops and also as an element of megalithic art on purposely worked megaliths such as the slab cists of the Food Vessel culture, some stone circles and passage graves such as the clava tombs and on the capstones at Newgrange. The site of Atlit Yam, abandoned circa 6300 BCE and now under Israel's Mediterranean Sea coast south of Haifa, features cup marks engraved into megalithic stones, some of which are set upright to form a semi-circle which has been referred to as resembling the UK's Stonehenge but smaller, with ceremonially buried bodies at the site, and potential alignments to the solstice, and/or to other stars, still being hypothesized as the site was only discovered in 2009 and undersea sites are difficult and expensive to explore.
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