The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian




Just to clear a common misnomer up, it's not the circle of uprights at Cairnpapple that had the solar alignments - it's the cove (was roughly around the West end of the North Grave) and semi-circle of pits (East side of the Cairn 2 reconstruction) that did this. This was possibly the earliest structure on the site yet identified. Standing in the centre of the cove and looking through the Northmost of the pits gives you the approximate horizon-point of sunrise on Summer Solstice, with the Southmost pit indicating sunrise on Winter Solstice, with both Equinoxes and the four Celtic festivals being indicated by the other pits. However, two pits indicate unknown festivals, suggesting that Cairnpapple has a fuller Neolithic Calendar than we currently fully know about. It's also worth noting that most Neolithic monuments with alignments indicate a small number of events - Cairnpapple, however, gives us the four Festivals, the two Soltices, the two Equinoxes, and four lost festivals. Impressively comprehensive! The other point worth noting is that the Ministry of Works reconstruction of the site in 1949 inexplicably only reconstructed six of the seven pits in the arc, the missing one indicating Beltain/Lunasdal - the location of this missing pit is just on the NW edge of a kerbstone in the NE perimeter of the Cairn 3 area which was damaged by a local taking it upon himself to build a Beltain fire on it in, if memory serves, 2001 (easily identifiable - the burn-marks are still there, and it's cracked - some locals refer to this kerbstone as "The Beltain Stone", although as a cairn kerbstone, it never functioned as such). Posted by suibhne
11th November 2003ce
Edited 11th November 2003ce

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