Gullane Links Linear Cairn Cemetery
Finding a group of 13 cairns in an active dune system ain't easy. We had to walk past the area we thought they were, join the definite path along to the caves at Hanging Rocks and re-trace the main path back round again. There's only one path marked on the Explorer map, but in reality there are paths all over the place! I'm sitting atop a steep dune- there are beautiful spiders crawling over my legs- black ones and pale green ones. I even disturbed a falcon who was hiding in the long grass up here. Looking down on the cairn cemetery I can still count about 11 of the original 13 cairns mentioned in the fist field report from 1924. It's still possible to make out the two parallel rows running off SW pointing to the Pentlands and Arthur's Seat across the Firth of Forth. According to the latest RCAHMS report only 4 definite cairns could be found. Although not the most obvious of sites, once the parallel rows have been established you can walk across one of the rows of 6 cairns counting 5 in the parallel southern row. These cairns are exactly as marked on the map- however- there are two paths here- stick to the higher one that goes along the edge of the raised beach and not the one by the shore. The cemetery lies to the south of a large dune and inland from a small rocky headland.
An Iron Age date has been suggested for these cairns. Apparently to the west of the cemetery are the remains of other small cairns that were excavated in 1902. These contained cists that had been previously disturbed and only found to contain pottery fragments. One undisturbed cairn contained and oval grave with three human skeletons. At the northern end of the same cairn was found four human skulls and other skeletal remains. Other finds picked up from around the site included pieces of decorated and cinerary urns, flints, arrowheads, knives and scrapers all of which are in the National Museum of Scotland.