The Cochno Stone is by far one of the most interesting, and beautiful, cup and ring carvings in Europe. Located in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, the Cochno stone is 42 feet long and 26 feet wide. It features approximately 90 carved indentions and grooved spirals, as well as a ringed cross and a pair of 4-toed feet.
It was discovered in 1887 by Reverend James Harvey and was exposed to the elements since its creation, yet miraculously maintained its immaculate petroglyphs. In 1964, however, Glasgow University archaeologists recommended it should be buried beneath several feet of top soil to protect the stone from vandals. It remained buried for 51 years, as housing developments also threatened the stone’s safety.
However, in September of 2015 the stone was excavated and completely exposed for a mere 36 hours to allow archaeologists and researchers to conduct some studies, gather new information, and take images and sketches so that they could create a replica. Afterwards, it was promptly buried once more.
There are many different interpretations of the carvings. Some say it’s a map which shows other settlements in the valley, others says it could have been used in sacrificial ceremonies where milk or water was poured into the grooves, or that it’s an astronomical map indicating constellations to help guide prehistoric farmers and indicate when they need to complete their harvest. What’s most likely, however, is that the stone was used for many different purposes over its many hundreds of years of existence, and that over time its utility varied based on the needs of the community surrounding it.
Similar stones and carvings have been found around the world, including Hawaii, India, and Africa.