|This is one of the sites which is considered to be an example of an early Clyde chambered cairn.
There is a generally accepted hypothesis that the Clyde cairns developed from simple box-like cists with some form of entrance definition to the elaborate final stages of multi-compartment axial chambers, side chambers and crescentic facades.
The early versions like Ardmarnock have the cist-like chamber fronted by two large portal stones which have no structural purpose. These portal stones are generally in line with the sides of the chamber and sit either in front of at the side of the chamber side stones.
At the risk of stretching comparisons too far, they could be considered as variations of the portal tombs found in Ireland, Wales and SW England. The main difference being that the capstone is not sloped and resting on the portals but instead sits on the chamber. Perhaps they all developed in their different ways from a starting point of a plain stone cist burial.
Another example of this early type of Clyde tomb is Ardnadam.
Some cairns like Cairnholy are said to show both the early stages and the development into the final form.
There is no dating to back up this hypothesis although it is generally supported by pottery finds.
If this hypothesis is correct, we have the interesting situation of rock art in an early neolithic site. If they are contemporary, it is a small contribution to the argument for pushing back the origins of rock art to the early neolithic.
Posted by greywether
4th April 2004ce