Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Touta Rock Carvings

So I was up early to catch the local sunrise at a group of rock carvings at Touta just over the top of the ridge from us. What a great start to the day, a half hour on the scooter up a dirt track as usual and then a battle up through raspberry bushes and brambles to get to the rock just as the sun came out from behind the hillside. The east facing rock, which is at 1037 metres above sea level is not that easy to find if you don’t know where it is but it’s well worth the hunt. It is about 3 meters by two so not particularly big and the carvings are only on the south-eastern half but even so they are quite impressive. It was quite inspiring with the weak autumn morning sun, the chill air with the deer barking and a huge flock of twittering tits flitting through the trees. Apart from the brief visit from the birds and once the deer had said everything they had to say to each other and I had been thoroughly warned to keep my distance there was total quiet, total peace. Not a sound and not a soul for miles. Bliss.
This is the sort of terrain where the carvings are found

The rock is above a fountain and next to a stream and contains 40 cup markings. Some are quite big, up to 10 cm and some small with depths varying from 1 cm up to 5 cm. There are quite a few cross signs, some with evident small cup markings at the ends of the arms and others without, and one with what look like hooks or elongated cup markings on. Then there is an arrow, a neat cluster of four small cup markings, three small same-sized cup markings arranged in a straight line, some initials, R,J. and a sign which looks like a stylized torso i.e. an e-shape with cup markings for hands and head. This is actually given as being and E in the literature but I disagree (outrage!). Initials are always in twos and anyway it is too similar to another carving nearby. There are also two dots and a dash like a division sign which may just be boundary sign as we have one on our land very similar though much bolder and larger. This seems to be a little small and weedy to be a boundary mark. The literature does not mention either this or the 4 dots.
possibly two types of crosses with division sign and four dots
As the rock faces east with the mountain behind it the sun, in this season at least, soon starts to skim round behind. Presumably in winter the site would only see the sunrise with the sun soon disappearing behind the mountain. I’ll have to check further on.
There are other carvings in the immediate area, one was too overgrown to get to without napalm and the other I haven’t managed to find yet. I though it might be nice to document some of the sites in the area so watch this space as it were.

close up of cup markings

more crosses

the arrow and anthropomorphic figure (?)

view from rock note three cup markings in row under trunk

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