A rock carving dating back to the bronze age has been uncovered by forestry workers clearing trees which fell during the recent storms.

The mysterious rock art had been hidden by a huge tree in Forestry Commission Scotland's Achnabreac Forest, in West Argyll, until it was blown down around three weeks ago.

The carving - believed to be around 5000 years old - is of a dice-like pattern.

It sits above the mouth of Kilmartin Glen and directly overlooks the rock art at Cairnbaan. Its proximity to these other rock art sites, its visual relationship with both sites and the similar complexity of design suggests that all three sites may be connected, say the commission.

It believes the new site may hold the key to unravelling the mystery which surrounds the rock art in Argyll.

Andy Buntin, of the Forestry Commission, said: "We discovered the new rock art during a routine inspection.

"West Argyll is renowned for its archaeological importance, with 46 scheduled ancient monuments, and the site is one of the three largest ring-marked sites in Britain.

"The importance of the site and the reasons for the carvings remain a topic of speculation and despite public and academic interest, the meanings of the symbols remains mysterious."

Mr Buntin said the carvings date back to the late neolithic and early bronze age.

"Initially the carvings were found on boulders and outcrops of rock overlooking major routes, hunting grounds, water-holes and hunting spots," he said.

"This suggests a link with herding or hunting wild animals, although the presence on hillsides may indicate that they mark out boundaries between farmland and wild ground - perhaps an association with territorial ownership.

"Later on, many boulders were incorporated into burials and cairns where they separate boundaries between sacred areas."