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Image:Scotland Dunadd 1.jpg
This footprint carved into the rock on Dunadd, in Argyll, is linked to the crowning of the Scots kings of Dál Riata.

A petrosomatoglyph is an image of parts of the human or animal body incised in rock. Many were created by Celtic peoples, such as the Picts, Scots, Irish, Cornish, Cumbrians, Bretons and Welsh. These representations date from the Early Middle Ages; others of uncertain purpose date back to megalithic times. They were an important form of symbolism, used in religious and secular ceremonies, such as the crowning of kings. Some are regarded as artifacts linked to saints and folklore heroes, such as King Arthur. The word comes from the Greek words "petros" meaning "stone" , glyphein meaning "to carve" and the term somatic referring to the body. Feet are the most common, however knees, elbows, hands and fingers are also found.

The term petrosomatoglyph should not be confused with petroglyph which covers all incised representations of living or non-living things or with pictograph, which is an image drawn or painted on a rock face, both of which contribute to the wider and more general category of rock art. Petroforms, or patterns and shapes such as labyrinths and mazes made by many large rocks and boulders in rows over the ground, are also quite different.

Stylised representations of parts of the body are often open to dispute and are therefore on the fringes of acceptability as identifiable PSGs. Natural objects, such as rock crystals and rock formations which look like PSGs, whole animals, plants, etc. are collectively called 'mimeoliths'.


[edit] Natural versus man-made petrosomatoglyphs

Many examples of PSG's are likely to be natural in origin, however they still have relevance as they have often become associated with mythological heroes, saints, etc. Some may be man-made but have become a PSG by the original function being forgotten. Creationists have been accused of faking Human footprints in areas where dinosaur prints are found to support their beliefs.

A suggested example of a re-used concavity is the footprint on Dunadd which some locals at one time thought was a cast for a bronze axe head (Thomas 1878-9). A pseudofossil of an apparent footprint of a human foot wearing sandals with a trilobite fossil in the print has been quoted by anti-evolutionists to show that modern man did walk the Earth at this time, around five hundred million years ago. The "Burdick Print" (or Burdick Track) from Glen Rose, Texas, USA is claimed by some creationists to be part of a "giant man track" , walking alongside dinosaurs.

[edit] Animal petrosomatoglyphs

[edit] Dogs

In the Mabinogion the story is told of Culhwch & Olwen and part of this relates to the hunting by King Arthur and his knights of the wild boar Twrch Trwyth with dogs. Cefn Carn Cafall (the ridge of Cafall's cairn) is a mountain near Builth in Breconshire where the footprint of King Arthur's favourite hunting dog, Cafall, is located in a conglomerate boulder on top of the cairn. If taken away the boulder always mysteriously returns to its position on the cairn (Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain). Cafal or Cabal also appears in Geraint of the Mabinogion as Arthur's favourite hunting dog in the hunting of the white stag (Ralls -MacLeod 2003).

[edit] Horses

Royal and other horses were sacred to Epona, the horse-goddess. Near Castell Cilan in Gwynedd, North Wales is a stone embedded in the ground bearing the hoof-print of King Einion's horse (Pennick 1996). At Llanllyfni in Wales is the hoof-print of the horse of St. Gredfyw. Close to Llyn Barfog in Wales is a hoof-print etched deep into the rock 'Carn March Arthur', or the 'Stone of Arthur's Horse', which was supposedly made by King Arthur's mount, 'Llamrai', when it was hauling the terrible Addanc or "afanc" monster from the lake. Not far from the Devil's Quoit in St. Columb, on the edge of the Gossmoor in Cornwall, is a large stone, with deeply-impressed marks known as 'King Arthur's Stone'. The marks were made by the horse upon which Arthur rode when he resided at Castle Denis and hunted on the moors (Ralls-MacLeod 2003). A winged horse named El-Buraq which had the face and breasts of a woman and the tail of a peacock was tethered for a period of time on the Rock or foundation stone of the Holy Jewish Temple in Israel, leaving a hoofprint on the Rock. At Loch Loran in Kilmichael, Argyll and Bute, are five flat stones bearing what may be natural markings improved by light pecking. They lie under water near the inlet at the northern end of the loch and can be best seen in dry weather. Two of the markings are called the 'Fairy Footprints' and close behind them are two ovals and several V-hollows suggesting large hoof-prints (RCAHMS 1964).

[edit] Bears

In Roseville, California a bear “footprint” was carved into one portion of the Northstar stone representative of a bear walking in a docile manner, the back print overlapping with the print of the forepaw. A bear footprint carving is located in Northwestern California. A large carving representing the claw marks of a bear can be seen at Chaw’se, Indian Grinding Rock State Park near Fiddletown, California. The St.Victor's Petroglyphs in Provincial Park, Saskatchewin, Canada , feature Grizzly Bears paw-prints.

[edit] Miscellaneous animals

The St.Victor's Petroglyphs in Provincial Park, Saskatchewin, Canada, feature footprint petrosomatoglyphs of Bison, Deer , Elk and Antelope.

[edit] Fairies

At Loch Loran in Kilmichael, Argyll and Bute, are five flat stones bearing what may be natural markings improved by light pecking. They lie under water near the inlet at the northern end of the loch and can be best seen in dry weather. Two of the markings are called the 'Fairy Footprints', being 11" overall, close together, with narrow heels which point across the loch. The left foot has possibly artificially added toes. Close behind are two ovals and several V-hollows suggesting large hoof-prints (RCAHMS 1964). They were not located on a visit in 1970. On Wangan Island, one of the Penghu group between China and Taiwan are a group of fairy Footprints on the top of Tiantai hill. In the very remote Pony Hills, New Mexico, near the desert border with Mexico, are examples of shamanic rock art. The site is located around a spring-fed rock pool. The images depict a variety of spirit forms, and also tiny carved footprints – the trail of Water Baby spirits trekking from one pool to another.

[edit] The Devil

At the ruined Kirk of Lady, near Overbister on Sanday, Orkney are the Devil's Fingermarks, incised as parallel grooves into the parapet of the kirk (Folklore, Myths & Legends of Britain). The Devil made it to Rhode Island in the USA, and he probably came from Massachusetts. In North Kingstown is a large, granite ledge known as Devil's Foot Rock. Legends going back to the colonial era tell of a squaw being chased by the devil. Some say that she fled from Boston. Her pursuer is said to have left his footprints at Devil's Foot Rock, then at Chimney Hill in South Kingstown, and finally at Block Island. At Dol de Bretagne in Brittany are found the claw mark of the Devil on Mont Dol as well as the footprints of St. Michael. Near Holmfirth in Yorkshire the Devil left his footprints as scorch marks on Netherton Edge. One day the devil disguised himself as a druid in an attempt to gain favour with the old priests, but was discovered in his plans and so, in anger, flew out across the hills carrying a great stone with him which he dropped from the skies and it landed where the Hood Hill Stone still remains. Also in anger he jumped down and stood on the great rock, and in doing so left his footprint impressed upon the stone. The site is at Kilburn, Northallerton in Yorkshire. In Lancashire the Devil threw stones at Clitheroe Castle and left his footprints in Deerstones Quarry near Pendle. At Castle Bentheim in Germany there is a curious smooth rock which the devil used as a pillow, leaving behind an imprint of his ear. In Cologne, on a heavy stone called Teufelsstein, are imprinted the hands and talons of the devil. The Lugenstein in the cathedral square at Halberstadt was carried there by the devil to destroy the cathedral. It was too heavy and he dropped it, leaving behind an imprint of his red hot thumb. Close to Altenburg, near Ehrenberg is a large stone which the devil used as a hat, boasting that even Jesus was not strong enough to do this. Jesus appeared and lifted the stone with one finger. The stone now bears the imprint of both the devil's head and Christ's finger.

[edit] Giants

On a natural stone in Cornwall is a foot shaped impression in a rock in the valley leading to the cliffs and coastal footpath nr Chapel Porth. It said to be the foot mark of Giant Bolster of St Agnes legend. Just below the formation there used to be a Holy Well dedicated to St Agnes but it dried up due to the mining in the area. Footprints at North Yell, up Hena, in Shetland were thought to be lost (Breeze 1997) , but were rediscovered in 1969 by the ordnance Survey. The footprint, 12" by 4", is known locally as the 'Wartie' and was used to wash in dew or rain-water and standing in it was supposed to get rid of warts. In legend it was made by a giant placing one foot here and the other on the Westing of Unst. In Bristol the giants Vincent and Goram dug the Avon gorge and left their footprints. Moso's Footprint in Samoa was made when the giant Moso stepped over to Samoa from Fiji, and the other footprint can be found on Viti Levu of Fiji. It is a 1m by 3m rock enclosure. At the foot of the Doa mountain in Vietnam, towards the west is a big rock. There are two human footprints on the rock. It is said that the footprints belonged to a giant who used to help the villagers with the construction of their houses. Unfortunately, one of the footprints has been damaged. At Arthur's Stone chambered tomb in Hereford & Worcester is a 'cup mark' stone which bears the imprints of a giant's (or king's) elbow, left behind after he fell dead to the ground, killed by King Arthur (Bord 1998).

[edit] Jesus Christ

Close to Altenburg, near Ehrenberg is a large stone which the devil used as a hat, boasting that even Jesus was not strong enough to do this. Jesus appeared and lifted the stone with one finger. The stone now bears the imprint of both the devil's head and Christ's finger. A set of Jesus's footprints, according to legend, are preserved at the Church of Domine Quo Vadis outside Rome.

[edit] Human petrosomatoglyphs

[edit] Footprints

The Romans were accustomed to carve pairs of footprints on a stone with the inscription pro itu et reditu , which translates as 'for the journey and return' . They used them for protective rights on leaving for a journey and for thanksgiving for a safe return, when the traveller would place his or her feet in the footprints to mark the beginning or end of the undertaking. This same story is told of King Maelgwn of Gwynedd in North Wales who placed his feet in carved footprints to ensure his safe return from a pilgrimage to Rome.
Image:I piedi del quo vadis.jpg
One legend states that these impressions are the footprints of Jesus Christ.
Footprints at Belmont, Londonderry Road, Ireland

In northern Europe, rock footprints were closely associated with Kingship or Chieftanship. Saxo Grammaticus notes that 'The ancients, when they came to choose a King, stood on stones planted in the ground to proclaim their votes, signifying from the steadfastness of the stones that the deed would be lasting'. Several reputed royal footprints survive in former Pictish power-places.

Standing on a special stone is a link between the King and the land from which his people earned their food. Links with King Arthur and 'The Sword in the Stone' called Excalibur , may be relevant in this context of Kingship, a right to power over his subjects and links with nature.

The upper echelons of the clergy of the Celtic Church were drawn from the nobility, indeed even some Kings retired to become monks and eventually even saints, as in the case of King Constantine of Cornwall who retired to Govan on the Clyde in Scotland. This meant that the association of stone footprints was also made with the saints, bishops and others.

The poet Spenser states that the custom amongst the Irish was to place the man who is to be chief upon a stone, always reserved for that purpose alone and located on a hill. Some of these had a footprint cut into them which was the size and shape of the candidates'. The oath was taken with the foot in the footprint, the individual swearing that as chief he would preserve all the ancient customs and respect the laws of royal inheritance.

Footprints have been found in Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Sri Lanka (Adam's Foot), Uganda, etc.

The Clickhimin Broch footprints on Shetland.

[edit] Footprints in Scotland

Carved footprint used in king-making ceremonies, Dunadd Hillfort

Among Cup and ring marks on a boulder at Carnasserie, two miles from Kilmartin in Argyll are carved a pair of feet. At St.Mary's Church in Burwick, South Ronaldsay, Orkney is the Ladykirk Stone on which St. Magnus is said to have sailed over the Pentland Firth. It has two clear footprints cut into it (Folklore, Myths & Legends of Britain). A pair of footprints is carved in a stone slab in a causeway at the Broch of Clickhimin (or Clickemin), Lerwick in Shetland. This site was occupied from about 1000 BC to AD 500 (Breeze 1997). Two footprints are to be found at Dunadd (Dun Monaidh), ancient capital of Scot's Dalriada. The completed one faces north and is accompanied by an image of a boar, rock-basins possibly cut for ceremonial ablutions and an ogham inscription. This footprint is said to be that of Oisin or Fergus Mor Mac Erca, the first King of Dalriada who died in AD 501 (Thomas 1878-9). St. Columba is said to have installed Aidan as King on this rock (Ralls-MacLeod 2003). The best preserved footprint is 27 cms long, nearly 11 cms wide, 9 cms across at the heel and 2.5 cms deep; so large that it would fit a foot clothed in a shoe or boot (Breeze 1997). A second incomplete footprint is a lightly-pecked outline of a shod right foot, 24 cms long and 10 cms in maximum width. It has a pronounced taper to the heel; further internal peck-marks suggest that it was to have been hollowed out. It is on the same alignment as the other footprint (RCAHMS 1999).

A crag near the chapel of Keil and St. Columba's Well, between Dunaverty Bay and Carskey in Kintyre, has two footprints carved at a place where St. Columba is reputed to have first set foot in Dalriada, Scotland. One is recent and the other genuinely old. Kingship rituals may have been connected with this PSG (Ralls-MacLeod 2003). St. Columba's footprints are to be found at Southend in Argyll (Breeze 1997). Two examples exist in Angus (Breeze 1997). On Islay there was a Stone of Inauguration by Loch Finlaggan. It was seven feet square and had footprints cut into it. When a chief of the Clan Donald was installed as the 'King of the Isles' he stood barefoot on the imprints on the stone, and with his father's stone in his hand was anointed King by the Bishop of Argyll and seven priests. During the ceremony an orator recited a list of his ancestors and he was proclaimed 'Macdonald, high prince of the seed of Conn'. The block was deliberately destroyed in the early seventeenth century (Bord 1976). At Spittal, near Drymen, is a footprint which may be due to natural weathering. It is located at the western end of a long ridge of natural rock outcrop. A quarry for two millstones is nearby (RCAHMS 1986). At Craigmaddie Muir, Baldernock, East Dumbartonshire is the 'Auld Wives Lifts'. This is a complicated assemblage of carvings on a rock-platform. On the rock are serpent-like forms, crosses, cups and an impression of the right foot of an adult (RCAHMS 1925). A visit in 1951 failed to locate the footprint.

[edit] Footprints in Ireland

Close to St. Olann's Well at Coolineagh, near Coachford, County Cork, are the footprints of St. Olann on a boulder. In the garden of Belmont, on the Greencastle Road, about a mile from Londonderry there was in 1837 a block called St. Columba's Stone with two footprints on it. It may have been the inauguration stone of the Kings of Aileach, brought here by the local Chief of Derry (Thomas 1878-9). On the Clare Hills in Ireland, on the Gort to Feakle road in the townland of Drumandoora is the engraved outline or impression of a foot clothed by a sandal. On the Hill of Lech or previously Mullach Leaght, the Hill of the Stone, three miles south-west of Monaghan in Ireland was the inauguration stone of the Mac Mahons. It was used in 1595 and destroyed by a farm owner in 1809.(Thomas 1878-9).

The footprints and associated markings from Arzon Cromlech in Morbihan, Brittany
At Clonmacnoise, King's County, Ireland, close to the Chapel of Clonfinlough there are several limestone boulders, one of which is called the Fairy's or Horseman's Stone. It has many cup-shaped hollows, croses, daggers, and a pair of human feet. At Templemore in County Londonderry is a slab named St. Columbkille's Stone. It has the imprint of two feet, each ten inches in length. traditionally it was the inauguration stone of the ancient Irish chieftans (Bord 1976). At Slievenamon (The Mountain of the Women) at South Tipperary in Ireland is the rock that bears the footprints of Goll - 'the One-Eyed' - who made a giant leap across the valley to catch up with the hunt of the Fianna.

[edit] Footprints in Wales

On a rock formerly visible at the eastern end of Holyhead church in Anglesey was the footprint of St. Cybi.

[edit] Footprints in Cornwall

"King Arthur's Footprint" is a hollow in the rock at the highest point of Tintagel Island's southern side. It is not entirely natural, having been shaped by human hands at some stage (Ralls-MacLeod 2003). It may have been used for the inauguration of kings or chieftains as the site is known to have a long history stretching back to the Dark Ages.

[edit] Footprints in England

Image:Chapeltounpsg 001.jpg
An unclothed footprint on a boulder at Trewithen in Chapeltoun, Ayrshire.

At Poole Farm in Somerset a cist cover was found with Footprints and cupmarks. The decorated Cist slab is displayed in Bristol Museum. Originally it was in position on the south side of the Pool Farm Cist, which was contained within a round barrow. Excavation revealed the cremated remains of a child and an adult. However these carvings do have similarities with the Calderstones in Liverpool and others in Scandinavia. The footprinted 'Calderstones' in Liverpool may have come from a Lancashire passage-grave (Pennick 1996). Sharkey sees a link of artistic influence between these and those at Petit-Mont in Brittany.

[edit] Footprints in the Isle of Man

The Swearing Stone found at Castleward earthwork was probably used in inauguration ceremonies (Bord 1976).

[edit] Footprints in Brittany

A passage-grave at Petit-Mont Arzon in Brittany contains a stone with a pair of feet, toes pointing upwards (Pennick 1996). Sharkey sees these carvings as coming from the same artistic tradition as those on the Calderstones. At Dol de Bretagne in Brittany are found the footprints of St. Michael on Mont Dol as well as a claw mark of the Devil.

[edit] Footprints in Germany

Near Minden in the Geismarwald on the Totenberg, an army leader who before a battle in the 30 years wars declared that he had as much chance of winning as he had of the stone becoming soft. It did and his foot and hand-prints are still there to be seen by all. At Rosenstein Castle on the Heuberg in the Remo Valley is a rock with the form of a beautiful human foot. On the mountain opposite, the Scheulberg, is a similar imprint. In the Klatauer Kreis, close to Oberkamenz village on Hradekberg Mountain stood a castle in which an arrogant daughter lived. She wore bread rolls as shoes and sank into the rock, as did the castle. One footprint can stll be seen.

[edit] Footprints in other parts of the World

A set of Jesus's footprints, according to legend, are preserved at the Church of Domine Quo Vadis outside of Rome. A footprint of Buddha with Dharmacakra and Triratna symbols from the 1st century, is to be found at Gandhāra, Northern Pakistan.

These footprints are associated with figures such as ships, shields and people.
On Sri Pada, or Adam's Peak, a mountain in Sri Lanka is a footprint mark said by Buddhists to be that of the left foot of the Buddha, the right footprint being in a city about 150 kilometres distant, or at Phra Sat in Thailand. Tamil Hindus consider it to be the footprint of Shiva. Some Muslims and Christians ascribe it to Adam where Adam the 'first ancestor' is said to have set foot as he was exiled from the Garden of Eden. Sometimes Christians ascribe it to Saint Thomas, the 'Apostle of India'. Footprints of the Buddha also exist in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, the Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore, and Burma. The St. Victor's Petroglyphs in Provincial Park, Saskatchewan, Canada feature human footprints.

[edit] Knee prints

A tradition of body-part impressions at holy wells, rivers and beneath waterfalls comes from the fact that Celtic monks or culdees often prayed in such places, continuing the veneration of the Druid's for sacred water. Folk belief ascribes healing powers to waters taken from these holy impressions and the this water was used to cure sickness, wounds and sores, as well as preventing or curing sickness in animals such as cattle (Pennick 1996).

At Llangynnlo in Wales are Olgliniau Cynllo, the knee prints of King Cynllo at prayer. At Troedraur in Dyfed, South Wales are the knee-marks of St. Gwyndaf Hen impressed on a flat rock in the bed of the River Ceri. These are 'potholes' made by the grinding effect of stone in the river currents to the sceptics. St Cynwyl in the river at Caio in Wales. St. Beuno at Llanaelhaiarn in Wales. At Arthur's Stone chambered tomb in Hereford & Worcester is a 'cup mark' stone which bears the imprints of King Arthur's knees left behind after he prayed to God in thanks for vistory over a giant (or king) who he had killed and who's tomb this is (Bord 1998).

[edit] Hands and arms

A diminutive pair of hands are carved on a boulder beside the Crinan Canal in Argyll (Hadingham 1974). The St.Victor's Petroglyphs in Provincial Park, Saskatchewin, Canada feature hand-prints. From Waldenbuch in Germany is a four sided stone pillar with scroll carving and a left arm and hand (Powell 1966). At Oberhasli on the road to Gadmen near Meiringen in Germany, is the Sterbensstein, a rock with the impression of a hand and several fingers left by a dying man after he had been attacked. Near Minden in the Geismarwald on the Totenberg in Germany, an army leader who before a battle in the 30 years wars declared that he had as much chance of winning as he had of the stone becoming soft. It did and his foot and hand-prints are still there to be seen by all. A carved left hand is to be found on the wall of the 'Decorated Hall' in the Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni on Malta. It measures 8 1/4" by 4" (Agius). At Arthur's Stone chambered tomb in Hereford & Worcester is a 'cup mark' stone which bears the imprints of a king's or giant's elbow, left behind after he fell dead to the ground, killed by King Arthur (Bord 1998).

[edit] Eyes

At St.Mary's Church in Newchurch-in-Pendle, an eye is carved on the tower, said to be the all-seeing eye of God. Local tradition says that it was originally placed there to protect the worshippers from the witches who once plagued the district (Folklore, Myths & Legends of Britain). In Almería, Spain, is a carved limestone pilar with eyes or the oculos / oculi motif. The eyes have eyebrows and / or accentuating arcs. An 'eye goddess' may have existed as shown by many other examples of carved oculi (Powell 1966). The Folkton 'drums' are made of chalk and are elaborately carved, with distinct oculi or eyes (Powell 1966). Petrospheres or carved stone balls from Scotland, especially the Aberdeen area, often have concentric carved lines, some of which appear to be stylised oculi (Powell 1966). Pecked carvings of 'eye-brows' are found on a lintel inside Holm of Papa Westray South chambered cairn, Orkney. They are similar to the 'owlish' eyes and eyebrows carved on the Folkton Drums (Sharp 1994).

[edit] Heads

The Celts are well known for their cult of the 'severed head' of which many examples exist as three dimensional carvings or sculptures. PSGs are much rarer. Pump Sant Stone near Carmarthen in Wales has the imprint in it of the heads of the five saints, named Ceitho, Celynnin, Gwyn, Gwyno and Gwynoro. The stone is made of Diorite, a very hard stone brought from another district. It stands on a mound facing the Ogofau Lodge of Dolaucothi House, near to the Roman Gold Mines. It has depressions on all four faces characteristic of the wear produced from crushing quartz (Invent. Anc. Mon. Wales & Mon 1917). The Serpent Stone from a Roman cemetery in Maryport in Cumbria has a Celtic severed head wearing a torc carved on the top of a phallic-shaped pillar. On the back is a carving of a serpent (Sharp 1997). The Husjatyn god-pillar from the River Zbrucz in Galicia, Poland, has several heads carved on its four sides, together with images of horses, people and weapons (Pennick 1997). A pointed stone from Rottenburg, at Stammheim in Stuttgart has a rudimentary human face carved on it (Pennick 1997). From Entremont, Bouches-du-Rhone in France is a four sided stone pillar with numerous engraved stone heads. The pillar came from the Celtic sanctuary which was destroyed by the Romans in 124 BC (Powell 1966) & (Piggott 1985).

[edit] The female form and reproductive structures

It has been stated that many of the signs or symbols which accompany maze or geometric patterns from sites such as Newgrange in Ireland are identifiable or interpretable as human, the womb (lens symbol), the pubic area (lozenge symbol), fallopian horns (Ram's Horns), the female form (Hour-glass symbol), breasts (w- or omega symbol), etc. Meehan (1996) does not however clearly indicate his sources for these interpretations. Some evidence to support such interpretations comes from early Cromagon art and other prehistoric art finds which show a fairly consistent use of certain symbols or methods of portrayal of body parts. The significance of certain shapes, such as chevrons, lozenges, mascles and fusils is apparent in their frequent use in heraldry (Dennis 2002) , their use on flags and the important part that some of these shapes played as Norman architectural motifs. Dunfermline and Durham cathedrals both have drum-piers with zig-zag carved ornamentation (Service 1982).

Barclodiad y Gawres is a passage-grave on Anglesey with its internal surfaces decorated with lozenges, chevrons, wavy lines and spirals. The whole tomb has been likened to a womb, that of the Mother Goddess. These symbols are also commonly used in passage graves found in Ireland and Brittany. Triangular stone are sometimes regarded as being representations of the female sexual organs (Sharp 1994). At Boscawen un stone circle in Cornwall a leaning central standing stone and a large white quartz boulder may represent the male and female elements of nature (Bord 1998). At Carn Euny iron age village in Cornwall is a fogou which may represent the womb of the Great Earth Mother (Bord 1998).

At Avebury and West Kennet Avenue in Wiltshire the tall pillar and 'broad diamond shape' stones were used alternately in the stone circles, possibly symbolising males and females at these famous pagan ritual site (Bord 1998). Stoney Littleton Long Barrow near Bath has been likened to a 'womb-tomb' of the Great Goddess who awaited the return of the sun.

[edit] Male reproductive structures

Many references have been made to the obviously phallic appearance of standing stones. It is suggested that they may serve as stylised representations of the phallus, the purpose of which is to magically enhance the fertility of humans, animals and crops (Sharp 1994). A number of practices which are supposed to give fertility to barren women are linked to standing stones throughout Europe. At Avebury and West Kennet Avenue in Wiltshire the tall pillar and broad diamond shape stones were used alternately in the stone circles, possibly symbolising males and females at these famous pagan ritual site. At Boscawen un stone circle in Cornwall a leaning central standing stone and a large white quartz boulder may represent the male and female elements of nature (Bord 1998).

[edit] Multiple body parts

At Portpatrick on the Island of St. Kilda there is the impression of a pair of knees and a right hand, said to be those of St. Patrick in the posture of prayer. In Cornwall, St. Newlyna knelt on a stone and left the impression of her elbows and knees in the posture of prayer. At Llanllyfni are found stones with the knee-prints, thumb and bed of St. Gredfyw. Medicine Rock in the USA was located on a hill fifteen miles west of Gettysburg, near the mouth of the Cheyenne Creek. Indians considered it to be a sacred rock and visited it regularly. Five footprints, hand prints and animal prints were originally visible, made by the Great Spirit of the Native Americans.

[edit] Recent and modern petrosomatoglyphs

Handprints made in wet concrete.

At Smithills Hall, near Bolton in Lancashire is the impressed footprint at the bottom of a set of stairs of George Marsh, a Protestant martyr. He was interrogated at the hall and then taken to Boughton in Cheshire to be burnt in 1555. The footprint is said to be a divine reminder of this unjust persecution and murder (Folklore, Myths & Legends of Britain). Often impressions of hands are made in concrete to commemorate the famous as at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on 'pavement' slabs or in wet concrete, just for fun! Making footprints in stone of family members as part of new Age beliefs.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Agius, A.J. The Hypogeum at Hal-Saflieni. Freedom Press. Malta. P.19.
  • An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire. V. County of Carmarthen. (1917). Roy. Com. Anc. Hist. Monu. Const. in Wales & Mon. P. 33.
  • An Inventory of the monuments extracted from Argyll, V.6. Kilmartin Prehistoric & Early Historic Monuments. Roy. Comm. Anc. Hist. Monu. Scot. ISBN 1-902419-03-0. Pps. 89-90.
  • Bord, Janet & Colin (1976). The Secret Country. Pub. Paul Elek. ISBN 0-236-40048-7. Pps. 66-67.
  • Bord, Janet and Colin (1988). Prehistoric Britain - From the air. Pub. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-83233-6.
  • Breeze, David & Munro, Graeme (1997). The Stone of Destiny. Symbol of Nationhood. Historic Scotland. ISBN 1-900168-44-8. Pps. 12 - 15.
  • Dennis, M.D. (2001). Scottish Heraldry: An Invitation. Heraldry Society of Scotland. ISBN 0-9525258-2-8
  • Folklore, Myths & Legends of Britain. (1973). Reader's Digest. London.
  • Hadingham, Evan (1974). Ancient Carvings in Britain: A Mystery. Garnstone Press. ISBN 0-85511-391-X. P. 88.
  • Jones, G. & Jones, T. (1973). The Mabinogion. Everyman Library. ISBN 0-460-00097-7.
  • Meehan, Aidan (1996). Celtic design. Maze Patterns. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27747-8 Pps. 54-55.
  • Ralls-MacLeod, Karen & Robertson, Ian. (2003). The Quest for the Celtic Key. Luath Press. ISBN 1-84282-031-1. P. 116.
  • Pennick, Nigel (1996). Celtic Sacred Landscapes. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-01666-6.
  • Pennick, Nigel (1997). The Celtic Cross. An Illustrated History and Celebration. Blandford. ISBN 0-7137-2641-5. Pps. 32-33.
  • Piggott, Stuart 1985. The Druids. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27363-4 P. 51.
  • Powell, T.G.E. (1966). Prehistoric Art. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-20046-7.
  • RCAHMS - various reports from the Historic Scotland Canmore website.
  • Service, Alastair 1982. Editor. The Buildings of Britain. Anglo-Saxon and Norman. Pub. Barrie & Jenkins. ISBN 0-09-150130-X. Pps. 117-118.
  • Sharkey, John (2004). The Meeting of the Tracks. Rock Art in Ancient Wales. Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. ISBN 0-86381-853-6. Pps. 32-35.
  • Sharp, Mick (1994). A land of Gods and Giants. Frazer Stewart Books. ISBN 1-85648-214-6. P. 133.
  • Sharp, Mick (1997). Holy Places of Celtic Britain. Blandford. ISBN 1-85079-315-8. P. 89.
  • Thomas, F.W.L. & Scot, S.A. (1878-79). Dunadd, Glassary, Argyllshire. Proc Soc Antiq. Scot. Vol. 1. - New Series. Pps. 28 - 47.

[edit] External links

  • [1] The Burdick Print of the naked foot of a Giant Man.
  • [2] Footprint Rock in Ohio, USA.
  • [3] Footprints of the Devil.
  • [4] A fossil footprint with a Trilobite in it.
  • [5] St.Columba's footprints at Southend in Argyll.
  • [6] Cabal's or Cafal's Cairn and King Arthur's hunting dog's pawprint.
  • [7] The Sheela Na Gig website.
  • [8]. King Arthur's Footprint at Tintagel.
  • [9]. Kits for making Petrosomatoglyphs.
  • [10] Photographs of Petrosomatoglyphs


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