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

Long Cairn

Long Cairn


Finally time to take slides. Even without livestock it seems every time I go there is more detail to be seen. Now there are short lines of smallish stones all over the circular mound forming part of the long cairn. Evidence for an outer covering of staggared faces (like Wideford Hill only far finer) or a stone cairn where erosion has chanced to form the appearance of lines ? One edge of the slab I think marks the start of the chambered area is where the 'spine' noted before looks to terminate, there is a well-defined row of stones forming one side of a small flat area in front of the slab - a cist removed maybe, or the top of a stall or even another chamber ?

Further down on the northern face is a prostrate rectangular slab I don't recollect noticing before, which is strange as it has a distinctive notch, marked by white lichen, on one of the longer sides. For a moment I fancy it the result of illicit recent digging. One half has lichen, then there is some moss, then nothing - as if it had been an half-buried orthostat. Strange, though, that the notch isn't in the lichened half.

Running my fingers along the edges the notch proved the only smooth piece, and very nicely rounded at that. We do have re-usable cists in Orkney (such as Arion) like the Argyll type, and the comparatively small notch would be because the whole cist was smaller. So had it indeed formed part of a cist [I ruled out a Ness of Brodgar type oddity staight out when this occured to me later] or only been intended for one then rejected ?

Lifting it carefuly revealed it and another smaller to be resting on unconnected stones with only a narrow slot a few centimetres deep between them, probably nothing relevant again. The simplest assumption is that antiquarian investigators had left it here when done.[why ?].
wideford Posted by wideford
6th July 2008ce
Edited 7th July 2008ce

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