The Cochno Stone, which dates to 3000BC and is described as one of the best examples of Neolithic or Bronze Age cup and ring markings in Europe, is being fully excavated for the first time since being buried in 1965 to protect it from vandalism.
The stone lies on land next to a housing estate near Faifley in West Dunbartonshire.
Archaeologists will use 3D-imaging technology to make a detailed digital record of the site on excavation and hope this will provide more information on the stone’s history, purpose and the people who created it about 5,000 years ago.
Dr Kenny Brophy, from Glasgow University, is leading the dig at the site next to Cochno farm. Work started on Monday and is expected to last three weeks.
He said: “This is the biggest and, I would argue, one of the most important Neolithic art panels in Europe.
“The cup and ring marks are extensive but the site just happens to be in the middle of an urban housing scheme in Clydebank.
“It was last fully open to the elements and the public up until 1965. Sadly, as it was neglected it was also being damaged through vandalism and people just traipsing all over it.