If you are familiar with my artwork, you will know, like many artists, I am inspired by the landscape, nature, wildlife and the environment in general. However, if you take a closer look at ‘Burntisland Map’, one of my coastal creations inspired by my life in this historic sea-port town, you will see something unique, almost hidden, amongst the brushstrokes.
To the north of this historic Burgh, looms The Binn, a volcanic plug, which rises 193 metres (632 ft) above sea level, and a well-loved Landmark on the Fife coastline. As if boasting our very own extinct volcano was not unique enough, a discovery of its ancient carvings is certainly something to capture the imagination.
The carvings are known as ‘Cup and Ring’ – and consist of a wide cup-mark with three very well-defined concentric rings around it. Archaeologists estimate the markings are around 4000 years old – which means they were already pretty old when the carvings were made in the Wemyss Caves 3000 years ago.
It’s unlikely that you will discover these carvings unless you have been shown where they are. After all, they have managed to remain hidden and protected for 4000 years. It’s one of the reasons I decided their appearance should be subtle, and slightly hidden from view in my artwork too.
We can but imagine who took hundreds of hours to carve these, or perhaps even more intriguingly, why they were created in the first place? What do they mean? From the earliest times, we as humans have always desired to make our mark. We wish to let the world know we lived a life and we have a need to ‘express’ the nature of that life whether that’s through words, books, music, paintings or … rock carvings.
With that said, there is something modern about these marks, as though they are radio or transmission waves, rippling out under a starlit sky across the Firth of Forth. Whatever their purpose or significance, these carvings are a communication – a bridge, a tangible connection, between the ancient world and now.
These Cup and Ring marks provide a much-needed reminder that, long before the threat of COVID, and long before our current homes and schools and businesses were built, there have always been artisans, creatives, farmers, fishermen, traders and families each sharing a desire to make their mark – to connect and contribute to the thriving community of Burntisland.
Regardless of their actual meaning, to me personally, the Cup and Ring carvings symbolise hope. As we face these times of uncertainty, our distant ancestors sent us a message of endurance and resilience – much like the rocks on which these carvings were. It’s a message that our community has weathered many storms, from shipwrecks, to witchcraft trials, to rebellions to recessions – but we are all still here.
It is my wish that when you give a home to this special piece, you will be reminded just how resilient we all are – and no matter how challenging life may seem, it’s never too late to make your mark. Where there is community, you will always find hope.
If you would like to buy ‘Burntisland Map’ it is a brand new design created to especially to celebrate our local town and the amazing community that live and work here. Don’t forget to enter the promotional code – valid until 24th October, 2020.
Alternatively, why not make a bee line for our original ‘Bee Happy‘ series of greeting cards – original artwork and yours for a Fiver – but get in quick. These beauties are flying out the door fast.