Carvings in Scottish caves believed to be Medieval


Experts have been able to shine some light on the most recent wall markings found in the historic Wemyss Caves.

Markings discovered in Wemyss Caves summer 2012, thought perhaps to be of Templar origin [Credit: Fife Today]

The 12-strong cave grouping at East Wemyss – the biggest in northern Europe – contains more carvings than all other in Britain put together, with many of Pictish origin.

Enthusiasts were inspired last month by the discovery of yet more symbols which, it was suspected, may date from the 12th century.

Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWACS) thought the most recent discoveries may be Templar in origin and called in some archaeological experts to assess them.

The designs were found in the Well Cave, below McDuff Castle – which was previously not thought to contain Pictish emblems.

SWACS vice-chair Moira Cook said: “The latest finds appear to be Medieval although they cannot be totally discounted as a Templar symbol, as it is possible there were crusaders from this area.

“It is also possible they are some type of cross of Lorraine, or maybe just a way for someone carving their name to distinguish between an ‘I’ and ‘J’.”

Ms Cook added there had been yet another new find – a small carved tablet which had been verified as a definite carving but, as yet, had no date.

It was difficult to be clear with dates, she added – the only real way was to take carvings which had already been discovered and time-frame the new ones from there.

“However, it is most likely Pictish and could date from around as early as 240 AD,” said Ms Cook.

“Where it was found has evidence of late Bronze Age and early Pictish occupation of the caves.”

Wemyss’ unique collection of cave carvings range from 3500 years ago to Pictish times, Viking symbols and modern man.

“I like to call it graffitti through the ages,” added Ms Cook.

The final Open Sunday of season is being held by SWACS this Sunday, while the group is also keen to know what Mail readers think of the carvings.

Members can be contacted through links at

Source: Fife Today [September 18, 2012]