Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - Prehistoric Cairns

Just a mile down the road from Culloden Battlefield, near Inverness, Scotland lie a series of pre-historic cairns. Called the Balnuaran of Clava Cairns or simply, the Clava Cairns, these prehistoric structures are still in amazing condition.

It is estimated that these cairns are roughly 4,000 years old - older than the pyrmaids.

The North-East Cairn and South-West Cairn, are well-preserved passage cairns. The cairns are aligned to the mid-winter solstice. These cairns likely only housed one body each. Standing stones surround the cairns as protection.

These standing stones were added much later.

This central cairn is a circle with no opening or passage. It is thought that this was likely a fire ring where ceremonies were held in conjunction with the burials in the two passage cairns.

This kerb cairn was added most recently (3000 years ago) and may have originally provided an outline for a low earth mound or shallow grave.

What amazed me most about the cairns was that they were still relatively in tact, lying in a field, surrounded by farmland. For 4,000 years, they have been seen as sacred ground and so have been given a place of honour, and have been left in solitude. Had they been in North America, they would have been cleared eons ago and a subdivision would now stand in their place. Here's to the Scots for recognizing the importance of these pre-historic structures and for preserving them for future generations to enjoy and honour as well.


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