K3D – Furness Rock Art

The Furness Neolithic Rock Art in 3D

Text and Models by Seán Sourke


Furness Rock Art (National Monument KD019-024003)
Unearthed one hundred meters south of Furness medieval church in 1975, this boulder, of local greywacke, was recognised as significant by the then owner of Furness House, David Synott, who notified the National Monuments Service.

The carvings on the boulder were subsequently classified as Rock Art (KD019-024003- in the Record of Monuments and Places), and dated by Elizabeth Shee to between 2000 – 1500 BC, therefore, Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age (see: Journal of the County Kildare Archaeological Society, Volume XV, No. 5, 1975, Shee, E.). Recent dating evidence points to a potentially earlier date range for carving of ‘quintessential’ rock art motifs as a tradition began as early as the Middle Neolithic (possibly even earlier) and continued into the Later Neolithic period, possibly extending into the Early Bronze Age (see: Inscribed landscapes: contextualising prehistoric rock art in Ireland, O’Connor, B., 2006, UCD PhD thesis). The long narrow gouges on the lower section are ploughshare scoring.

There is no public access at present to this National Monument as it is on private lands.

NOTE: download size is 76MB.

Furness Neolithic Rock Art – Monochrome Model

The model below has been uploaded without a “texture” (i.e. photographic image data projected onto a 3D model) in order to remove colour information and other details, such as lichen, that can distract the eye and obscure the true form of the surface topography.

The 3D model has revealed a small number of additional cup marks and features not previously recorded.

NOTE: download size is 45MB.

This rock features a number of rare motifs including two enclosed cup mark rosettes, possible unenclosed cup mark rosettes, and a motif of concentric rings with an outer ring that changes direction to enclose another ring and cup mark. The long narrow gouges on the lower section are modern ploughshare scoring.