Cups And Rings Stones: Representations Of Clan Structure
Fertility was so valued by the first farmers that a seed became the symbol for a human life. Neolithic Britons may have believed life's purpose was connected to proliferation, both here and beyond, in the stars.
The symbols on the Cups and Ring Stones found throughout the UK, appear to be derived from the stars. Although similar in appearance to constellations, they most likely represent a family unit, or clan.
The art suggests that clans were polygamous and celebrated proliferation rather than specific lineages.
A "cup" represents a seed/person/star. The rings may relate to the number of children born to the woman represented. When a child was born, a ring was carved around the mother cup and a new child cup marked nearby. When the child matured and gave birth, their cup received a ring, and another cup carved nearby.
In this way, ringed cups represent mothers and how many children they birthed, while ringless cups represent men, childless women and children.
A trough, or a strike through the rings may represent the death of the mother. Where the line joins another cup, death during childbirth. Deeper, additional meaning of the trough is related to its directionality.
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Published: 4 Mar, 2020